William N. Panzer

William N. Panzer
Born William Norton Panzer
September 6, 1942
New York City, United States
Died March 18, 2007(2007-03-18) (aged 64)
Boise, Idaho, United States
Education Princeton University, New York University Film School[1]
Occupation Film and television producer

William Norton Panzer (September 6, 1942 – March 18, 2007), also referred to as Bill Panzer, was an American television and film producer best known as one half of Davis-Panzer Inc,[2] the production company behind the Highlander franchise.


Panzer was born in New York City and educated at Princeton University.[2] He then attended the New York University Film School,[2] and worked as a cameraman and film editor, then produced television commercials at VPI.[1] In 1968, still at New York University,[2] he produced the feature documentary Mexican Anticipation starring Duke Ellington. Panzer then partnered Phos Cine Productions in New York, making commercials[2] and industrial films for seven years.[1]

In 1976, Panzer moved to Los Angeles and partnered with Peter Davis to found Davis-Panzer Productions.[1][2] They produced more than twenty films, including The Osterman Weekend (1983, directed by Sam Peckinpah), Death Collector with Joe Pesci, Stunts, and Freeway (1988).[2]

This company also made the Highlander franchise,[1][2] which comprises five movies, two television series, animated features and video games. Panzer co-wrote screenplays for three Highlander movies,[2] was Executive Producer of Highlander: The Series, which were nominated three times for the Gemini Awards and once for a Saturn Award in 1998. Panzer regularly attended Highlander conventions, where he mingled with fans and was very popular.[2] Panzer has also been a familiar figure at the Cannes Film Festival since 1982.[2]

On March 18, 2007, Panzer, who owned a home in Ketchum, Idaho,[3] fell while iceskating[4] at the neighbouring resort of Sun Valley. After being transported by helicopter to St. Alphonsus Hospital in Boise, he died at 7:01 p.m. Cause of death was a "blunt force trauma of the head due to a ground level fall," stated the Ada County Coroners' office.[3]

Panzer was a member of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and of the Television Academy. His wife was Priscilla Panzer.[2] There is a scholarship fund in his name at the Lawrenceville School in Princeton, New Jersey.[2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Highlander: The Series - The Producers at Rysher.com". Archived from the original on October 12, 2000.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 Variety.com staff (March 26, 2007). "William Panzer, 64, producer – Filmmaker worked on Highlander franchise". Variety. Reed Business Information. ISSN 0042-2738. Retrieved February 19, 2008.
  3. 1 2 Dugan, Dana (March 20, 2007). "Accident claims life of Bill Panzer". Idaho Mountain Express. Ketchum, Idaho: Express Publishing Inc. ISSN 0279-8964. Retrieved October 4, 2008.
  4. Pendreigh, Brian (March 23, 2007). "William Panzer". The Herald. Glasgow, Scotland: Newsquest (Herald & Times). p. 19. ISSN 0965-9439. Retrieved October 6, 2008.
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