William F. 'Bill' Burns

william burns
William F. Burns, 68, was born on June 11, 1946 and passed away at Branford Hospice after a long battle with cancer on August 14, 2014. William, known to all as Bill, was the son of the late Henry and Margaret Heaphy Burns. He was a graduate of Hamden High School and Quinnipiac University. He is survived by his cousin, Don Houde of Baton Rouge, LA, Betty Mashburn from Prattville, Alabama, as well as many close friends from Massachusetts to California. Bill was first and foremost a producer. He had the right skills and vision to gather together the correct talent in all areas, which resulted in many successful productions. His knowledge of the movie business, its history, and the making of movies were exceptional. Bill was a Hamden resident for over 50 years and was truly involved in promoting the image of Hamden and the achievements of its youth. He coached throughout the 1960's for Hamden Fathers Baseball. In 1964, Bill recorded and managed the rock 'n' roll band 'The Travelers.' The band included Fred Rossomando, Steve Murphy, Andy Maio, Tommy McIntyre, and Jimmy Gaffney-who all attended Notre Dame High School. The band had three very successful years of performing in and around the Hamden/New Haven area. Bill worked at Sleeping Giant Films as a film editor and as a projectionist at the original Hamden Cinemart Theater, which included promotion and advertising for Stanley Warner Theaters throughout Connecticut. In 1966, Bill was founder and President of America Film Studios Inc. It was at AFS Studios where he produced and directed the award winning film 'Hot Ice', based upon the Hamden High School Hockey Team as well as many films, documentaries and commercials. Bill was also active for over 20 years in many productions of the Hamden High School Theater Department where AFS also produced and directed the documentary 'Places Please' for the Documentary Discovery Channel. This film was based on the Hamden High School Production of 'Amadeus.' In 1996, Bill was Co-Executive Producer for the movie 'Night Of The Twisters' shown on the Fox Family Channel. Bill was a consultant/member to the Yale Film Society, which put him in direct contact with the great movie director George Roy Hill. Together, along with producer Bob Crawford from California, they were instrumental in the preservation of the movies 'Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (40th Anniversary/World Premiere) and the 'Making of Slaughterhouse-Five'. One of Bill's greatest achievements was as producer of the Quinnipiac Jazz Festival and Concert Series for over 30 years. Along with guidance from Quinnipiac Professors Sam and Sonny Costanzo, they brought many of the greatest jazz artists of the 20th Century to Hamden. Performers included: Clark Terry, Tony Bennett, Eubie Blake, Benny Goodman, Arturo Sandoval, Dizzy Gillespie, Louie Bellson, Ed Shaughnessy, Dave Brubeck, Bill Watrous and numerous others. These jazz festivals and concerts gave thousands of citizens from Hamden and surrounding towns the incredible opportunity to witness first hand these jazz legends. Starting in 1997, Bill was Studio Manager at Grace Recording Studio in Hamden. He was also very active in Hamden politics, including Past President of the Dunbar Hill Civic Association and attending numerous meetings at Town Hall. Bill promoted the arts throughout his life and was a true character that clearly spoke his mind with the utmost honesty and sincerity. His presence will be missed. The family and friends of Bill would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff at the St. Raphael Campus of Yale New Haven Hospital, and especially all the staff at the Hamden Health Care Center for their caring attention and compassion towards Bill. Finally, the Branford Hospice staff was exceptional with their attention to his comfort and needs. In lieu of flowers, donations in Bill's memory can be sent to Horns For Kids, 159 Pelham Avenue, Hamden, CT 06518. You can also visit the website to donate: www.hornsforkids.org. Horns For Kids promotes music education in Connecticut Schools. Family and friends may visit at BEECHER & BENNETT FUNERAL HOME, 2300 Whitney Avenue, Hamden on Sunday, August 17th from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. A Funeral Service will be held on Monday, August 18th at 10:00 a.m. at the funeral home followed by a burial in St. Lawrence Cemetery, West Haven.

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Memories Timeline


  1. From Hamden High to Mary Poppins at the Cinemart – always a gentleman. Now you and my dad can continue your theatre conversations. Rest in peace, my friend. I will miss you.

  2. I had the good fortune to meet Bill and work with him in Los Angeles on motion picture. All these years later we stayed in touch and even had lunch whenever our paths crossed. Bill was a true gentleman and lover of all film and music. He fought the fight and now rests in peace . Bill Tannen Portland, Oregon

  3. I will always remember Bill’s passion for theater, his irrepressible humor, and his tireless patience while working with us on numerous productions at HTD. Thank you, Bill, for putting your heart into everything you did! You are missed.

  4. I’m one of Bill’s childhood buddies. Many of you may not know that Bill use to make home movies using all of the neighbor kids. Those neighbor kids were: Mike King, Gordon & Brian Hutchinson, Jim & Brian Maresca, Roy Fredrickson, Bob, Rory, and Malcolm McKernan, and Frank Prybyla. We all knew that Bill would pursue this budding passion for films to a professional level. Bill was always the consummate organizer and he made things happen. I believe it was 1995, when Bill hosted a pre-party to our high school reunion. Many of the old .gang. were there plus many more. I mentioned to Bill that we should get the old gang together every few years. Sadly, we never did.

  5. To a great man who had no fear in telling it as it is, with, of course, his dramatic flair. You will be greatly missed. James A & Angela B O’Brien

  6. To a lifelong good and faithful friend with a sensitive heart and a wonderful laugh; you will live in my fondest memories the rest of my days. Rest in Peace my friend.

  7. We went to grammar school, catechism, junior high, senior high and college together, we argued and laughed and how we remained close friends through it all I’ll never know. Bill was part of our family. Debbie and I, my daughters, my brothers will all miss Bill. Paul from Gloucester says it best! Thanks Fred for being there.

  8. I’m sure no one will read this. It’s too late, but I.m writing anyway. Bill was as honest a man as I ever knew. When I came back from California he gave me work that I didn’t deserve and really worked hard to help me. I’m sorry that we lost contact and I’m sorry that I didn’t know. Rest well Bill. You are remember fondly.

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