There is an old saying that If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough.” Well, I was not just lucky to know Uncle Frank, I was privileged and honoured to have known the man for over 23 years.
I say man because he embodied everything that we want our friends and family to inspire to: he was strong, fair and commanded respect. He was honourable, gentle and had a heart of pure gold. He will be dearly missed. May he rest in peace.
Such sad news. Frank was the epitome of what the games industry stood for at the beginning. His contribution to our business was immense, his character immersive and he will surely be missed.
I met Frank when I first entered the industry back in the mid 1990s. A wily but ever so likeable character.
Frank was a one of a kind. An extremely sharp financial exec, he used his prowess wisely. A great negotiator (he almost always got the best deal), but also fun to be with. Always a twinkle in the eye. He made sure everyone felt younger than he by calling them young Joe”, young Harry”, etc. His passion for raising money for Habab, the Israeli school for under-privileged boys, was relentless.
Over a number of years, nearly every company in the industry sponsored the annual USA vs UK amateur boxing gala at the Hilton on Park Lane. Frank managed to take a positive view of life, no matter what tribulations came his way.
He was a great Uncle Frank to me and to most. Someone we can truly look back and admire. Great business leader, great philanthropist, proud games industry veteran.
Frank, we will miss you.
Paul Street 1985. Portobello Road. Portland Road. Cromwell Road. Marylebone Road. Baker Street. Charlotte Street. Camden Town. Mill Hill. Bushey 2009.
Breakfasts, lunches, dinners. Pubs, cafes, restaurants. clubs, hotels. Tottenham. Twickenham. Chelsea. Abdul. Dim Sum in Bayswater. Royal China W1. Skate in W1 and E1. Lunchtime curry in W1. Competitor. Thorn in my side. On my case. Customer. Supplier. Invested in some of his things. He invested in some of mine. We invested together. Won and lost together.
Empty vessels make the most noise. I need that like a third nostril. I’ll grow hairs on the palm of my hand first. You schmuck! Need you to do something for me. Where’s the cheque for the boxing match? Hello son. Glad to hear it. Hello, young Tim. He’s paying. You schmuck.”
BIG business man. BIG charity man. BIG family man. HUGE hearted man. SALT of the earth. SPECIAL beyond words. I miss you Frank.
Hello son,” Frank would always say. Warm, smiling and interested, he was from the old school. A gentleman.
I don’t know who first coined the phrase ‘Uncle Frank’. Perhaps we all did, unconsciously. No one ever questioned it. It just came to be for a man who commanded immediate respect.
Professionally, his years of experience and understanding of people and business helped him make a success in games, but it also helped us all. He did much for many. He was a presence in all our lives for 25 years.
Many wouldn’t have even known it, but he has always been there in the background, shaping and influencing. Personally, he was a kind man who did huge amounts to support his friends and his adopted charity.
It came to be that the last time I spoke to Frank was within an hour of the last conversation I had with my father, as my dad was taken ill shortly afterwards. My dad was a special man. So was Frank.
Too often the word ‘legend’ is used to describe people, but Frank was a one off and worthy of the accolade.
For many who have come into this industry of late, Frank will be largely unknown.
Those of us who have been around a bit longer will tell you that he was a man who was treated with reverence. He touched so many people’s careers both directly and indirectly, it was really remarkable. Intelligent, diligent, an astute business man, tough and sometimes uncompromising. Dedicated to his work, but also spent many hours helping others through his charity work.
A devoted family man with a wicked sense of humour, he truly loved games and the games business. The man who never really grew up. Frank Herman is a true legend. A top gent to boot, who will be missed by many of us who owe so much to him.
I was 18 when I first worked at GT Interactive, on the reception and customer service area at the famous Old Grammar School. When I first met Frank I instantly liked the man; he was a very respected and in general he gave me a lot of tips and guidance.
I used to go running for him with a pocket full of coupons to collect his cigars, whilst he would be in various business meetings, which were all held from his ‘Head Master’s Office’. Out of kindness he would buy me a sandwich or two!
He did a lot for charity and I very much enjoyed his events and having a quick catch up. He was always very interested in how I was getting on. He was a true gent and a grafter and he will be missed by a lot of people. They truly don’t make men like him anymore, the mould was definitely broken.
My heart goes to all his family and very close friends.
I once interviewed Frank and his team for CTW, when Mastertronic launched. The vision of experienced guys steaming in with a revolutionarily-priced range of games (1.99, gulp!) was beguiling. Only thing; the impact of a positive piece was ever-so-slightly diminished by a few typos. Worse, they were all in the surnames.
A combination of my dreadful handwriting/notetaking; a then lack of familiarity with ‘Frank Herman’ and his colleague ‘Alan Sharam’; and the world’s worst typesetting (yup: it was that far back!) meant that the piece was littered with quotes allegedly from ‘Harman’ and ‘Sherman’ and ‘Haman’. In fact, pretty much everything other than ‘Herman’.
Deeply embarrassed, I phoned Frank before he’d seen it to apologise. He laughed, uproariously…
A good man.
Frank Herman was far more than an industry legend; he was a friend, a colleague and an incredible human being. I still remember the first time I met Frank at his Sega offices when we tried to cajole him to join GT Interactive, which he and most people had never heard of at the time. However, after an hour’s time he knew exactly what we were trying to accomplish, understood our vision and was helping us lease space the next day. With Frank’s leadership GTI built a significant European presence in an incredibly short period of time.
What is it that we remember of Frank? I think everyone who knows him well would agree with me on this: he was always available with a full heart as a mentor and advisor in business and in life. And he touched numerous friends and colleagues over the years with absolutely no hidden agendas and expectation of anything in return.
I will forever be grateful for spending several years of my life with Frank as a friend and a colleague.
On my first day at Virgin Games back in 1989, Nick Alexander introduced me to Frank as your new boss”.
Tossing a copy of science fiction epic Dune in my general direction, Frank’s first words to me were: Make a game based on this by Easter.”
Over the next five years, Frank became both my mentor and a good friend, despite our opposing north London football allegiances.
A man of few words, but every one of them well considered and to the point. Frank was one of the most compassionate and considerate people it is my privileg