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Posts Tagged ‘Martin Scorsese’

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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‘Tree of Life’ Proposes a New Take On the Summer Movie

The summer blockbuster season is officially upon us, kicking off this weekend with a lineup of typical popcorn-fueled crowd-pleasers: The Hangover Part II, Kung Fu Panda 2, and…  The Tree of Life.

Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life, the Palme d’Or winner at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, doesn’t sound like the usual summer movie fodder — and it doesn’t look like it, either, even though it’s got dinosaurs. But the timing of its release is central to Tree‘s marketing strategy, part of distributor Fox Searchlight‘s effort to position it as “a different kind of summer event.”

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Longtime PR Maven Lois Smith On Real Time Web: ‘I’m So Glad I’m Not Doing Publicity Now’

Boston University newspaper BU Today profiled retired celebrity publicist Lois Smith in an interview published today. Smith’s career includes work with A-listers Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Whitney Houston and Martin Scorsese.

She also launched legendary Hollywood firm PMK/HBH with Pat Kingsley. PMK recently experienced a shake-out in conjunction with its merger with agency BNC.

Smith tells the paper that she’s happy to be out of the PR game:

With Web sites like Perez Hilton, and Twitter and more gossip magazines than ever, how do you think things have changed for a publicist?

Oh please – I’m so glad I’m not doing publicity now. Between celebrity magazines and Web sites, there’s so much out there to be filled up, so much information that has to be put out there simply because those publications exist. First of all, whatever you’re pushing, it becomes a story 30 seconds after you put it out there. I don’t care about hearing so much information minute by minute. People are desperate to fill the space they’ve got; they’ll print anything, go with anything, pursue rumors, and even create them. It’s not what I call publicity.

Read the full interview here.

[Via: Romenesko]