David Lust, Veteran Hollywood Publicist, Dies at 55

Courtesy of the Lust family
David Lust

The native of Washington moved to Los Angeles at age 24 to pursue a career in publicity thanks to a connection from Shirley MacLaine.

David Lust — a Hollywood publicist who, during the course of his career, worked with star clients like Allison Janney, Neve Campbell, Jennifer Beals, Devon Sawa, Patricia Heaton and Sean Astin — has died following a brief battle with cancer. He was 55. 

Lust died Saturday, just one month after revealing on Facebook that he was hospitalized and prepping for surgery after receiving a diagnosis that he had a tumor in his colon. His death, announced Wednesday by his family and a former close colleague, hit many in the industry by surprise. Colleagues, friends and entertainment industry insiders rushed to his Facebook page to say goodbye and offer personal tributes. 

Lust was born on May 10, 1964, in Spokane, Washington, and raised in nearby Walla Walla. He graduated in 1982 from Walla Walla High School, where he was an active member of the student body, serving as editor of the newspaper and producer of the production of The Wiz

Following graduation, Lust enrolled in Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, before transferring to the University of Washington in Seattle, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1988 with a communications degree. It was during his time in college that he was first introduced to the world of publicity thanks to a local firm in Seattle.

Lust landed a job as a unit publicist for the 1990 film Waiting for the Light, directed by Christopher Monger and starring Shirley MacLaine and Teri Garr. MacLaine introduced him to a prominent Hollywood publicist, Dale Olson, who helped kick-start Lust's career once he relocated to Los Angeles at the age of 24. 

During those early days, Lust worked for a who's who in personal publicity, spending time at Annett Wolf and Lisa Kasteler's Wolf Kasteler Public Relations and Kelly Bush's ID-PR. In 1998, he joined Susan Patricola to form PLPR Public Relations, where they built a strong business and represented many boldfaced names. In 2012, Lust and Patricola parted ways and dissolved their company. He joined Rogers & Cowan as a vice president and also did stints at Freeman Public Relations and his own firm, David Lust Public Relations. 

His clients included Nancy Travis, Richard and Sheila Schiff, Edward Furlong, Jessica Walters and Illeana Douglas, among others.

Lust was preceded in death by his father, Charles W. Lust. He is survived by a mother and stepfather, Nancy and Larry Young of Clyde Hill, Washington; a sister and brother-in-law, Lisa and Todd Crutchfield of Newcastle, Washington; two nieces, Lauren and Julianne Crutchfield; a half-brother, Chuck, and a half-sister, Ruthanne. His family is requesting donations be made to Colorectal Cancer Alliance or Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.

Plans are underway for a celebration of life ceremony to be held in Bellevue, Washington, in September.