PR Legend Walter Cowan Dead at 97


Sad news today, folks. Warren Cowan, gentleman publicist who launched and some say “made” the careers of Paul Newman, Elizabeth Taylor, Danny Kaye, Kirk Douglas, Frank Sinatra, Tony Curtis, Shirley MacLaine, Roberto Benigni and Elton John, died late last night of heart failure and cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Known for his unwavering respect of journalists, Cowan held the moniker of the “father of Hollywood press agents.” His PR company, Rogers and Cowan became the biggest publicity firm in the world. It was sold to the British conglomerate Shandwick in 1988 and Cowan set up his new company Warren Cowan & Associates six years later.

Cowan was one of my PR heroes. Whenever he was asked, “who is your favorite client?” He’d answer, “the next one.” He truly loved story-telling and image-making.

Cowan is survived by Barbara Gilbert-Cowan, the mother of actresses Melissa Gilbert, Sara Gilbert and actor Jonathan Gilbert; two daughters from previous marriages, Fox News Channel reporter Claudia Cowan (his daughter with actress Barbara Rush) and Bonnie Fleming; and four grandchildren.

You will be forever remembered, Mr. Cowan.

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