Howard Brandy, a publicist in film and music over a career spanning nearly five decades and known as the model for the cartoon character Dudley Do-Right, died last Monday after a long illness. He was 79.
In the 1950s, Brandy represented teen heartthrobs Fabian and Frankie Avalon before going on to work with Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Sam Cooke, the Fifth Dimension, Lionel Richie, Captain & Tennille and the Monkees. He also headed publicity for A&M records, Uni Records and Motown.
Brandy was known throughout Hollywood for his gravelly voice that sounded like canvas dragged over rough road, according to Variety. There isn’t a trade reporter or editor who didn’t know Brandy when he called, pitching an array of actors, writers and producers. Brandy also became a regular in the Variety offices when he started dating and then ultimately married Rose Einstein, who was the former head of advertising for the paper.
Actor-producer Gene Kirkwood recalls an incident when Motown producer Berry Gordy left Brandy and Stevie Wonder alone together in a hotel room. “The minute Howard spoke, Stevie jumped up on the bed, terrified,” Kirkwood said. “He’d never heard a sound like that before.”
He worked on the Beatles‘ films “Hard Day’s Night” and “Help!” but his film PR work kicked into high gear with 1967′s “Privilege.” He worked on publicity campaigns for many films, ranging from “Young Frankenstein” and all the “Police Academy” movies to “The Last Emperor.”
He also worked on such TV fare as the remakes of “East of Eden” and “The Magnificent Ambersons.”
His long relationship with “Rocky and Bullwinkle” creator Jay Ward led to several classic publicity stunts. One was a cross-country trip allegedly trying to create a national referendum urging statehood for Moosylvania, which ended in Ward and Brandy pulling up at the White House in full costume on the day the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted.
The strong-jawed visage of Canadian Mountie Dudley Do-Right was modeled on the profile of Brandy.
Brandy’s widow, Rose Einstein, was formerly VP and publishing director of the Variety group and is currently VP and associate publisher of the Hollywood Reporter.
In addition to Einstein, he is survived by two daughters and a son.
Donations may be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation, P.O. Box 51150, Los Angeles, CA 90051-9706.
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