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August 29, 2012

Lillian Gallo, Producer of Issue-Oriented TV Movies and More

Gallo is perhaps best known for the 1975 telefilm Hustling, starring Lee Remick and Jill Clayburgh.

Julia Waldow

Lillian Gallo, a television producer best known for her 1975 television movie Hustling, died of Alzheimer’s disease on June 6, 2012 at the Motion Picture and Television Home in Woodland Hills, California. She was 84.

Gallo began her career in theater as the assistant to George Axelrod, a film and theater writer-director, in the 1955 Broadway production of Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? She went on to work on other Broadway shows, including Auntie Mame and Mr. Wonderful.

In Hollywood, Gallo worked with Mr. Wonderful director Jack Donahue on The Frank Sinatra Show. She later worked with the show’s producer, William Self, on TV series including Peyton Place, Batman and Julia. Gallo also supervised 22 movies at ABC, including Haunts of the Very Rich (1972) and Steven Spielberg’s Duel (1971).

She eventually made a production deal at MTM Enterprises, where she created her own projects and backed rising talents including James L. Brooks and Gary David Goldberg. A number of Gallo’s productions, including Hustling (1975), Fun and Games (1980) and The Stranger Who Looks Like Me (1974), explored topical issues such as prostitution, sexual harassment and adoption, respectively.

Gallo also produced the romantic movie Playmates (1972), NBC’s miniseries Princess Daisy (1983) and thriller The Lookalike (1990).

Born Lillian Drazek, Gallo grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts. She and her sister sang on the radio as the Drazek Sisters.

After graduating from the University of Michigan with a journalism degree in 1949, Gallo studied at the Women Officers Training Class in Quantico, Va. There, she became a captain and served in the Pentagon.

Gallo’s husband, actor Lew Gallo, died in 2000. She is survived by a son, daughter and two grandchildren.

Funeral services were held June 19, 2012 at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.

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