Bill Muster, c. 1950.
William N. Muster Bio & Resumé
June 18, 1926 - William N. Muster born in Valaprasio, IN.
Oct. 10, 1934 - Mother dies (father and all grandparents already deceased), leaving Bill an orphan. From age 9 - 18, Bill lives in an orphanage, then a series of foster homes.*
1944 - Travels by automobile from Valaprasio to Bremerton, Washington with his half-brother to work in the shipyards refurbishing ships for WWII.
June 1944 - Graduates from Bremerton High School.
Dec. 1944 - Dec. 1946 - Sergeant and aircrew member in the U.S. Army Airforce, U.S. and Germany. Publicist, section head, and photo chief of the base photo lab for the Ansbach Record, a weekly paper for American GIs in Germany.*
Feb. 1947 - June 1950 - Works his way through college at the University of Illinois with freelance writing and photography, the GI Bill, and summers jobs at Alexander & Associates of Chicago, a creative service agency, as a staff photographer. He photographs the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1948 - 1949 and the Chicago Fair of 1950. At the University of Illinois he is photo chief and associate editor of the University of Illinois yearbook and Illini daily newspaper. Member of Sigma Delta Chi journalism fraternity.
Feb. 5, 1950 - Marries Paula J. Runge in the University of Chicago chapel.*
June 18, 1950 - Graduates with a BA in Journalism-Advertising, University of Illinois, School of Communication.
Sept. 1950 - Jan. 1953 - Writer, editor, photographer, and bureau manager for United Press International (Acme Photo).
Jan. 1953 - Moves to California and works as a sales representative at Hollywood Electronics, doing in-store sales and sound installations, for nine months.
Sept. 1953 - May 1959 - Merchandising manager at Capitol Records, Inc.*
Feb. 2, 1956 - Daughter Nori J. Muster born in Los Angeles.*
Aug. 8, 1958 - Son Bill M. Muster born in Los Angeles.
Aug. 1959 - Moves with family to Sunnyvale, California.*
May 1959 - 1961 - Marketing manager for Ampex Corporation, United Stereo Tapes division.
1961 - 1989 - Moves with family back to Los Angeles. Works for the next twenty-eight years from his office at 6900 Santa Monica Blvd. Initially hired as an executive for Pacific Network, Inc. and California Communications, Inc., companies that lease and sell sound systems, telecommunications equipment, and Muzak background music. Beginning in 1966, his duties include an official role in Greene Line Steamers, Inc., defending, promoting, and photographing the Delta Queen steamboat. He becomes president of the company.*
1970 - Divorces, moves to West Hollywood.
1972 - Purchases his dream house at 1515 Skylark Lane, which has a view of western Los Angeles County from Pacific Palisades to Palos Verdes. He lives there more than 17 years; hosts hundreds of people for parties and public events. Dozens of out of town guests stay at the house over the years, including his half-brother, Ed Miller, and associates from the Delta Queen and Washington D.C. He at times rents three spare bedrooms to colorful characters like Dr. Emily Coleman, author of "Body Liberation: Freeing Your Body for Greater Self-acceptance, Health, and Sexual Satisfaction." Besides an ever-changing kaleidoscope of Hollywood characters, Bill also rents rooms to kin, such as his children, friends, and girlfriends.*
1974 - Joins Sciety of AmericanTravel Writers (SATW) as an associate to promote the Delta Queen steamboat.
1975 - 1976 - Produces a half-dozen editions of The Traveler's Almanac, by Rand McNally.*
1976 - Sells Muzak franchise and turns CCI into a post-production studio. Five years later, he sells all film editing equipment in an auction to become the first all-video post-production facility in Hollywood.
1981 - The SATW names their photo contest after him, due to his committment to improving the quality of the contest.*
1986 - Diagnosed with terminal mesotheloma, due to exposure to asbestos as a panters's helper refurbishing ships for WWII at the Bremerton shipyards in 1944.
1988 - Awarded the SATW Marco Polo award.*
1996 - Establishes the Bill Muster Foundation, a private charity to inherit and manage his estate after his death, for the benefit of non-profit organizations he supported during his lifetime.*
Jan. 3, 1989 - Dies peacefully at home, surrounded by friends and family.
Muster illustrating a point with the CCI megaphone, c. 1962. Photo credit: Kaye Photo Services, Catamaran Hotel, San Diego.
Muster with an ONA airplane, c. 1970. Overseas National Airline bought the Delta Queen Steamboat Company and owned it for approximately five years (1969 - 1974). ONA built the Mississippi Queen Steamboat.
After resigning from the Delta Queen, Muster grew a beard and authored a series of travel books for Rand McNally. This was a publicity photo for America's Top 500 Sights to See, published to coincide with the American Bi-centennial in 1976, and World Traveler's Almanac, which had several editions in the 1970s (click here for Traveler's Almanac).
Delta Queen Steamboat Company executives publicity photo, circa 1984. The cutline taped to the back says:
Commodore Harold DeMarrero, Gordon Greene, Patrick Fahey, Senior Vice President Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Bill Muster, Shirley Bernstein, Ben Bernstein - President, BB Enterprises, Joyce A. Early - Senior Vice President-Finance of Delta Queen Steamboat Company, Ron Marcou - Senior Vice President-Passenger Services, Delta Queen Steamboat Company. Foreground - Frank Fried, President Delta Queen Steamboat Company.
With daughter Nori at the Los Angeles Krishna center, 1979.