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Posts Tagged ‘Marilyn Monroe’

Celebrity PR: Better Off Dead

Finally, tangible proof that there is indeed life after death—as long as you are, or were, a famous celebrity.

The Forbes 2012 Top-Earning Dead Celebrities report is out, and many will be surprised to learn that both Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley have been relegated to the #2 and #3 spots, respectively. That’s right, Elizabeth Taylor snuck into the 2012 lead by virtue of an estate auction which earned a cool $210 million last year. Taylor’s collection of jewelry was legendary, but she also owned works by both Picasso and Van Gogh, and her perfume line White Diamonds remains a top-seller.

The public wants its celebrities to be both exceptional and human, and nothing reminds us of the humanity of the ridiculously talented and fortunate more than death. We all die, after all–and death doesn’t care who we are.

Death can visit us in the shower, on a highway or during a beachside stroll. It has neither remorse nor regret. It simply does what it does when it wants, and dying turns out to be a defining career move for many celebrities thanks to the misplaced nostalgia of an eager public.

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RIP Lois Smith, ‘Publicist to the Stars’

The lights of Broadway shine a little less brightly today after the death of Lois Smith, a star publicist colloquially known as “Earth Mother” whose “strong, steady hands” helped shape the careers of some of the 20th century’s biggest names on stage and screen.

Smith died of a brain hemorrhage after falling down a staircase in Maine; Cindi Berger, current CEO of PMK*BNC—a company originally started by Smith—confirmed her passing on Sunday. She was 85. A very brief list of former clients gives you some idea about the extent of her influence:

  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Robert Redford
  • Meryl Streep
  • Martin Scorsese
  • Warren Beatty
  • Whitney Houston

Lois Smith was a trailblazer who brought big changes to a business dominated by men. In 1969, she co-founded the all-star PR agency PickWick, which later merged with Maslansky/Koenigsberg and then joined BNC in 2009 to form the firm that we know today as PMK*BNC. Between those two dates, she had a hand in organizing and promoting some of the biggest movies ever made; in short, she all but created the modern-day entertainment PR industry.

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