- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 16, 2011

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Bill Arnold, North Carolina’s first film commissioner who saw “The Color Purple,” “Dirty Dancing” and other successful movies produced during his tenure, has died. He was 75.

State Department of Commerce public relations manager Margo Metzger said Arnold died Sunday at his home in Raleigh. The cause wasn’t known.

Arnold was appointed by Gov. Jim Hunt in 1980 to head a new office designed to bring movies and television productions to North Carolina. During Arnold’s 26 years, De Laurentiis Entertainment Studios, now EUE/Screen Gems Studios, opened in Wilmington.

Other movies produced in the state during Arnold’s time were “Bull Durham” and “Days of Thunder.” The television series “Dawson’s Creek,” and its spinoff, “One Tree Hill,” were also shot.

A funeral is scheduled for Wednesday in Raleigh.

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