Famed Hollywood publicist Warren Cowan dead at 87

Thu May 15, 2008 3:12pm EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Legendary Hollywood publicist Warren Cowan, whose clients included Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra, died at age 87 after a fight with cancer, a spokeswoman said on Thursday.

A pioneer of entertainment publicity and a co-founder of the firm Rogers & Cowan, he died on Wednesday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with family members at his side. Cowan had been diagnosed with cancer three weeks earlier.

In a career that lasted more than 60 years, Cowan's client list included a who's who of Hollywood.

In addition to Newman, Taylor and Sinatra, he represented Cary Grant, Danny Kaye, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Elton John, Doris Day, Gene Kelly, Lucille Ball, Judy Garland, Steve McQueen, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner and Joan Crawford.

Cowan's client roster also included actors-turned-politicians Reagan and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Reagan used to joke that had Cowan done a better job for his acting career he would never have had to go into politics.

Cowan is credited with pioneering "product placement" in Hollywood -- giving away goods and merchandise to celebrities or inserting products into films to gain free publicity for them.

He also used "top ten" lists as a vehicle to promote his clients, having his stars cited for everything from being the "Most Watchable Man" to having the "Most Hypnotic Eyes."

He left Rogers & Cowman in 1992 and formed his own company two years later.

Reuters/Nielsen

 
<p>Legendary Hollywood publicist Warren Cowan, shown in this undated publicity photograph, whose clients included Ronald Reagan, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra, died at age 87 after a fight with cancer, a spokeswoman announced on May 15, 2008. A pioneer of entertainment publicity and a co-founder of the firm Rogers &amp; Cowan, he died on May 14 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with family members at his side. Cowan had been diagnosed with cancer three weeks earlier. REUTERS/Courtesy Warren Cowan and Associates/Handout</p>