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John Dartigue, who spent more than two decades in the publicity department at Warner Bros., died Nov. 9 in Los Angeles following a sudden illness, his family announced. He was 82.
Dartigue entered the film industry in 1965 at United Artists through Robert Benjamin, the company’s co-chairman and a family friend. He started as a reader in the story department before becoming a trainee in foreign advertising and publicity under pioneering studio executive Ashley Boone.
Dartigue switched to the domestic side of PR, where he rose through the ranks before serving as director of publicity beginning in 1975 and then vp advertising and publicity in 1978.
During his tenure at UA, he helped promote the first 10 James Bond films, the four Beatles movies, Sergio Leone’s Westerns with Clint Eastwood and features from Federico Fellini, François Truffaut, Martin Scorsese, John Schlesinger, Brian De Palma and Francis Ford Coppola.
In October 1978, Dartigue moved to California and, with the help of Arthur Krim and Eric Pleskow, who had both left UA to launch Orion Pictures, joined Warners in Burbank as a project executive in the marketing department. In 1984, he was appointed vp publicity and remained with the company until his retirement in June 2001.
At Warners, he helped get the word out on Tim Burton’s two Batman films, George Miller’s Mad Max pictures and Jim Carrey’s Ace Ventura movies, plus Blade Runner, GoodFellas, New Jack City, Arthur, Caddyshack, Malcolm X and many other releases.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dartigue moved to the U.S. at age 5 and was raised in Great Neck, New York. After his senior year at the American School in Paris, he earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and his master’s from Columbia University.
Dartigue became a U.S. citizen in 1973, thanks to the sponsorship of David Picker, then president of UA.
His father, Maurice, devoted nearly 50 years to the field of education, first in Haiti and then in Paris and Africa, and Dartigue wrote the preface for and edited several works about his dad’s career.
His mother, Esther, was an educator as well, and he and his mom collaborated on the 2013 book Forging Ahead: Recollections of the Life and Times of Esther Dartigue.
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