Jack Hirshberg, a Hollywood publicist who worked for Cecil B. DeMille, Bob Hope and a whole constellation of Golden Era movie stars, has died, a family representative said today. He was 92.
Hirshberg's clients also included Jack Benny, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis and Gary Cooper, during a 50-year Tinseltown career that is chronicled in a special collection, "The Hirshberg Papers," at the library of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Hirshberg died at his Laguna Niguel home on March 7 after a brief illness, according to Spooky Stevens, a spokesperson for the family.
Hirshberg was a founding member of the Publicists' Guild, and worked for several of the major studios before retiring in 1973, but he didn't stay idle for long.
He agreed to come out of retirement when Robert Redford asked him to handle publicity for "All The President's Men" and several other films, including "The Electric Horseman" and "Ordinary People," and ended up working through the early '80s.
Born in Montreal in 1917, Hirshberg started writing a newspaper column about radio shows, which was syndicated across Canada. He moved to Hollywood to cover the industry for the Montreal Daily Star in 1938.
He joined Paramount Pictures in 1940 as a promotions agent, but left to serve in the U.S. Navy — he was an American citizen through his parents. After
World War II, he rejoined Paramount and handled publicity for dozens of
pictures, including "The Ten Commandments" and "Funny Face."
Hirshberg went independent in the late 1950s and did publicity for several films, including "Some Like It Hot." In the '60s, he did publicity for television stars and for Arthur P. Jacob's firm, APJAC Productions, where he worked on the "Planet of the Apes" series, "Doctor Doolittle" and "Play It Again, Sam."
Hirshberg ended his "official" career at Twentieth Century Fox, where he was the publicist for "Hello Dolly" and other films. After his retirement in 1973, and his post-retirement work for Redford, he wrote a book, "The Making Of All The President's Men." He also authored another book, "the Legend of the Lone Ranger."
After retiring for a second and final time, he moved to Orange County and volunteered for Meals on Wheels for 20 years.
Hirshberg was preceded in death by his wife of 40 years, Lois, in 1992. He is survived by daughters Susan Davis, Jill Zinner, son Robert Purvin, his companion of 17 years Madelyn Kamins, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
The family plans a celebration of his life on April 24, but details were not released.
In lieu of flowers, the family requested that donations be made in Hirshberg's name to the Motion Picture and Television Fund, the Blind Children's Center of Los Angeles or City of Hope.