Murray Weissman, a well-regarded Hollywood publicist and awards consultant, died Monday of complications from pancreatic cancer at his Los Angeles home. He was 90.
A trailblazer in the field of awards campaigning, his clients included Frank Sinatra, the Television Academy, Miramax, Judy Garland, Danny Kaye, Red Skelton, Dick Van Dyke, the Smothers Brothers and such hit series as The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Route 66, Wyatt Earp, and Hogan’s Heroes.
Weissman began his career as a publicity executive with the ABC and CBS television networks. In 1966, Weissman moved to Universal Pictures where he spent 10 years as chief of the motion picture publicity department — including work on Steven Spielberg’s Jaws, which opened in more than 400 theaters and was accompanied by a massive PR campaign that Weissman supervised.
In 1981, he formed his own marketing and PR company. Beginning in the 1990s, Weissman began focusing more on award campaigning for film and television with studios’ Academy Awards and Emmy teams.
In 2006, with son-in-law Rick Markovitz, Weissman formed Weissman/Markovitz Communications, which has assisted on Emmy campaigns for Amazon’s Transparent, FX’s American Horror Story, and AMC’s Breaking Bad and Mad Men.
“Murray Weissman was an essential part of Mad Men,” series’ creator, Matt Weiner, said in a statement. “His understanding of creative people, his patience, his cleverness with gatekeepers and his unflagging taste served as an example to me and to generations of artists.
“Murray’s belief in the show, in the network’s commitment and in me personally — expressed by clever, persistent and always polite persuasion — enabled our success. Murray Weissman was a Zen warrior, proving how belief in yourself and your work can overcome all obstacles. I will miss him, and I feel so lucky to have been part of his personal and professional life.”