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Howard Brandy, an internationally recognized PR specialist who repped hundreds of films and dozens of musical acts in his four-decade career, died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a long illness. He was 79.
Brandy is perhaps best known for his work with Jay Ward, the creator of the Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons. The square-jawed, barrel-chested publicist served as the inspiration for Dudley Do-Right, Ward’s Canadian Mountie character who did battle with Snidely Whiplash in an animated parody of silent film melodramas.
Brandy’s wife is Rose Einstein, vp and associate publisher, sales and marketing at The Hollywood Reporter.
The Brooklyn-born Brandy got his start in the music industry, working with such teen idols as Fabian and Frankie Avalon in the 1960s. Other music acts he handled included Aretha Franklin, Stevie Wonder, the Fifth Dimension, the Temptations, the Monkees and Sam Cooke. He also headed publicity for A&M Records and Motown Records.
After he segued to films, Brandy worked on such movies as “The Last Emperor” (1987), which won nine Academy Awards, including best picture, and “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers” (2002), which collected two Oscars.
Other films included “Silent Running” (1972), “Young Frankenstein” (1974), “The Omen” (1976), “Quest for Fire” (1981), “My Favorite Year” (1982), “Gorky Park” (1983), “Runaway Train” (1985), “Russia House” (1990), “The Last Seduction” (1994), “About Schmidt” (2002) and the “Police Academy” films.
Brandy also did press for top studio execs Ned Tanen, Mike Medavoy and Alan Ladd.
“I’ve known Howard since 1964,” said Medavoy, now the head of Phoenix Pictures. “You don’t meet that many individuals who have his warmth, his enthusiasm and his integrity. It was always evident in the work that he did and in the way that he lived his life.”
In the book “The Moose That Roared: The Story of Jay Ward, Bill Scott, A Flying Squirrel and a Talking Moose,” Brandy said he looked up Ward after stumbling upon Bullwinkle on TV, then became Ward’s West Coast PR man in 1961.
To promote “The Bullwinkle Show,” the fun-loving Brandy engineered a 1962 cross-country stunt to get folks to sign a petition to make Moosylvania the 51st state. Brandy and Ward traveled the country in a van, with Brandy dressed as Dudley and Ward wearing a wacky admiral outfit.
Brandy also is survived by his three children: Adam Brandy, Eden Brandy-Cronce and, with Einstein, Rebecca Brandy.
A memorial service will be held Friday at Hillside Memorial in Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund Foundation in Los Angeles.
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