Julian Myers, the veteran publicist who worked with Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, John Wayne and others for 20th Century Fox, has died. He was 95.
His son Eric confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that Myers died Saturday morning of congestive heart failure in Marina del Rey, Calif. He also said that a memorial is planned for early next year.
While at Fox from 1948-61, Myers worked with a slew of top stars. Along with Monroe, Presley and Wayne, they included Betty Grable, Deborah Kerr, Jayne Mansfield, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Shelley Winters, Claudette Colbert, Patricia Neal, Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Joanne Woodward, Shirley Temple, Leslie Caron, Ethel Merman, Mitzi Gaynor, Shirley Jones, Rita Moreno, Katharine Hepburn, Jane Russell, Shirley MacLaine, Dorothy Dandridge and Joan Collins.
The news of Myers’ death comes only two months after that of his wife, attorney Patsy Nanna Myers, who died of complications from a stroke. She died Oct. 12 at age 89. They had been married for 43 years and she often shared in his life and work representing top stars and Hollywood executives.
Born Feb. 22, 1918, in Detroit, Myers moved to Los Angeles to be one of the first students in USC’s Film School (then known as the Cinematography School), which he entered in 1937. After graduating, he worked first at Technicolor and then at Columbia Pictures in the story department. It was there that he met Ruth Schultz, a studio messenger. Their marriage lasted 25 years, and they had three children: Jon, Fredricka and Eric, the latter of whom went on to become a unit publicist working on more than 50 films.
Myers spent 13 years at Fox, where he created several promotional stunts including having the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel block out all the letters in its neon sign except the “EVE” in the center on the night that All About Eve premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre across the street.
He also arranged for two jackals to be flown from Africa to Los Angeles for the launch of The Snows of Kilimanjaro and had Fox contract player June Haver meet them at the airport.
He frequently worked with Monroe and often found himself going to her home to pull her out of bed for scheduled press commitments, according to Myers’ family.
In 1962, Myers left Fox to start his own firm, Julian F. Myers Public Relations. Among his clients were Ray Walston (My Favorite Martian), George Kennedy, Cloris Leachman and director George Englund.
Six years later, he closed the firm in order to start KKOG, a short-lived Ventura County-based UHF television station, and later began working for American International Pictures, where he remained for 12 years. He also worked at Hanson & Schwam Public Relations and in the early 1990s went back into business for himself and represented Dennis Weaver, among others.
Myers also became a champion marathon runner in his later years, racing in 25 marathons (including in Los Angeles, New York, Boston and Greece) and often for philanthropic causes including AmigoDay, which he and Patsy invented nine years ago “to counteract national, regional, religious and other prejudices. It is an international holiday and has been on Voice of America three times: Just greet anyone anywhere, your way, any month’s first Sunday,” according to a press release from Myers.
For his 90th birthday, Myers celebrated AmigoDay by running 90 miles from San Diego to Los Angeles in 11 days. He had been planning to run 100 miles on his 100th birthday starting in San Diego and finishing in the L.A. marathon.
He also competed in the Huntsman World senior track meet in Utah for years, earning numerous medals. In October, he set a record in his age category for the 800-meter dash.
He also was co-writing a social media guidebook and had been developing a film, Hoppers Nighthawks, with co-producer Arlene Clendenin.
In addition, Myers had been on the faculties of UCLA Extension and Loyola Marymount University, teaching entertainment public relations courses.
Earlier this year, Myers received a special award from Local 600 commemorating his work and previously received the Publicists Guild’s Robert Yeager Award in 1978 and Les Mason Award in 1980.
In addition to his three children, Myers is survived by 10 grandchildren, four great-grandchildren sister Helen Gilbert and brother Rod Myers.
Alex Ben Block contributed to this report.
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