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Jerry Juroe, the veteran marketing and public relations professional best known for handling the promotion of 14 installments of the James Bond film franchise dating to the very first, has died. He was 98.
Juroe died Sept. 30 of natural causes at his home near Valencia, Spain, his friend Mark Cerulli told The Hollywood Reporter.
“He made a huge contribution to the success of the series from the very first promotional tour to Italy in 1962 for Dr. No with Sean Connery to his retirement as director of marketing on Licence to Kill,” Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to his daughter Kim.”
Born in San Francisco on Sept. 19, 1923, Charles Juroe got his first taste of Hollywood before he was even a teenager when he won a contest to attend an advance screening of 1935’sThe Lives of a Bengal Lancer at Paramount’s local office. But any thought of a future in showbiz was put on hold when, per the wishes of his father, a career naval officer, he went off to the Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee, where he studied from 1935-41. He graduated shortly before the attack on Pearl Harbor, whereupon he was called up to serve in the U.S. Army.
Juroe volunteered for the Office of Special Services and for a time escorted stars like Rita Hayworth and Bob Hope around military bases, a job he loved. “No college or university could ever compare to the importance of this education I received courtesy of Uncle Sam,” he would later write in his 2018 memoir Bond, The Beatles and My Year With Marilyn: 50 Years as a Movie Marketing Man. “All I knew was that this was what I wanted to do with my life and that somehow I would make it happen.”
That he did — but not before being transferred to the European theater where, as an infantry officer, he took part in the D-Day landing at Normandy and was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge. (He was presented with France’s Legion of Honor by French president Emmanuel Macron in 2009 on the 75th anniversary of D-Day.)
Upon being honorably discharged in October 1945, Juroe returned to the Bay Area. There, he landed a job working for Fox West Coast Theaters, first as the assistant manager of the Rialto cinema and then as its publicity chief. He left to oversee publicity for the Herbert Rosener Theaters and then for Paramount Theaters in San Francisco before earning an invitation, in 1950, to come work in Paramount’s publicity department on the studio’s lot in Hollywood.
This first of several stints at that studio reunited him with Hope, who became a friend; introduced him to many other A-listers, including Alfred Hitchcock; and led to him promoting projects such as 1950’s Sunset Blvd. and two for Cecil B. DeMille, 1952’s The Greatest Show on Earth, which won the best picture Oscar, and 1956’s The Ten Commandments. For the French release of the latter, he managed to arrange for posters of the film to be plastered on the doors of Paris’ Notre Dame cathedral. “Now that’s press agentry,” James Bacon, the Associated Press’s Hollywood correspondent, wrote in his 1977 memoir, Made in Hollywood.
Juroe’s career would repeatedly take him back to Europe. He left Paramount to work for Arthur P. Jacobs‘ publicity firm, and one of his more memorable tasks was looking after Marilyn Monroe in England during the production of 1957’s The Prince and the Showgirl. While escorting Monroe to a gala, he met another woman who would become his wife, the actress Lynn Tracy. They were married for 42 years until her death in 2001. It was while working for Jacobs that Juroe also first met a man who would play a major role in the rest of his life, producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli.
Juroe began overseeing European publicity for United Artists, which brought him back in touch with Broccoli and his producing partner Harry Saltzman, who were preparing to release the first installment of the Bond franchise, Dr. No, through UA. He asserted in his memoir that it was on the continent that Bond first became a phenomenon: “The first release of Dr. No in America, the distribution was basically to drive-ins in Texas and places like that, and it just didn’t work. There was not even an upmarket East Side New York release. I wouldn’t say that it was mishandled as much as I’d say that they just didn’t know what they had. But it was turned around by the success in Europe. It was so big in Europe, and then of course, the thing about [President John F.] Kennedy being a big fan of Ian Fleming was a big help. We got a tremendous amount of publicity out of the releases in Europe and eventually in America.”
Over the next few years, Juroe oversaw the European promotion of 1963’s From Russia With Love, 1964’s Goldfinger, 1965’s Thunderball and 1967’s You Only Live Twice. “I spent more time over with Cubby and Harry than I did in my own office,” he would recall. “They just took over my life.” Not that he minded — he would later describe Broccoli as “one of the finest human beings it became my distinct honor and privilege to know.”
Juroe was briefly lured away to work for Paramount in Europe and then Universal in New York. “I was content at Universal,” he explained, “but when the opportunity came about to return to the Bond operation, I bade farewell to New York yet again and was soon flying back to Europe.” He was at UA for the release of 1974’s The Man With the Golden Gun and then went in-house at Broccoli and Saltzman’s EON Productions as chief marketing executive, in which capacity he worked on 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, 1979’s Moonraker, 1981’s For Your Eyes Only, 1983’s Octopussy, 1985’s A View to Kill, 1987’s The Living Daylights and 1989’s License to Kill.
He traveled the world with the Bond films and was present for moments both glamorous (meeting Princess Diana at a screening) and gutting (“I was with Pierce [Brosnan] when he was told that he was no longer going to be Bond,” he recalled in Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross‘ Nobody Does It Better: The Complete, Uncensored, Unauthorized Oral History of James Bond, adding, “I got the call from Cubby in Hollywood and had to pass the phone to Pierce. It wasn’t easy. He was just destroyed.”). And until his retirement in 1990, it was his assignment to oversee the 007 brand all around the world.
Veteran publicist Dick Guttman, whom Juroe considered one of his most talented protégés, tells THR, “I was working in Paris on Love in the Afternoon [for Herb Stern of Allied Artists], and I had to go to England to buy a typewriter that had an English-language face on it, so I stopped in to see Jerry. He was doing The Prince and the Showgirl — I’d heard of him because he was legendary even before the Bond films — so I went to his office, and he was on the phone because Marilyn was causing some sort of problem, and he was so angry that he slammed down the phone and it broke to pieces. Then he picked up a shard of the phone and said, ‘How did that happen?!’ And I said, ‘I really want to work for this guy.'”
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