Jeff Rose, a publicist with Screen Gems and Paramount Television in the 1960s, died Thursday of natural causes at his home in West Hollywood, his family announced. He was 88.
Rose also worked as a writer and talent coordinator on Jerry Lewis’ annual muscular dystrophy telethons in the ’70s and ’80s and served as a board member for the nonprofit Southern California Sports Broadcasters organization for years.
Born in Brooklyn on July 14, 1931, Rose attended Poly Prep in Brooklyn, the University of Pennsylvania — where he was on (and helped coach) the varsity tennis and soccer teams — and Cornell Law School. He was stationed in France in the U.S. Army.
Rose began his show business career in New York at CBS, where he worked in production, publicity, sports and news, then joined Columbia Pictures’ Screen Gems division as a director of publicity and promotion. In 1969, he helped set up an installment of ABC’s The Johnny Cash Show in which the country superstar performed at an Arkansas prison in Little Rock.
After a stint at Paramount and service as an assistant to the president of the New York City Council under Mayor John Lindsay, Rose moved to Los Angeles in 1977 and worked in live sports, news and on Lewis’ MDA telethons on Labor Day.
In Las Vegas, he produced the Riviera hotel’s annual Hall of Fame Golf Classic, where athletes from sports other than golf competed on a TV special.
For the Southern California Sports Broadcasters, Rose created student broadcasting seminars and helped program the group’s ballroom luncheons.
“Jeff Rose was a loyal SCSB board member for four different presidents over a period of 25 years,” current president Chris Roberts said in a statement. “He was invaluable as a writer for our organization and for his sage advice.”
One event in Toluca Lake honored the Los Angeles Dodgers’ longtime infield of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey.
“Jeff was such a special person,” recalled Cey, who presented Rose with the SCSB’s Legends Award in 2018. “Incredibly talented in so many ways. Where his work took him and the people he met provided us all with wonderful stories of his personal experiences. The sarcastic humor he had with me was something I could always laugh about.”
“We shall all miss his inimitable style and panache,” added a fellow board member, USC sports play-by-play man Pete Arbogast.
A lifelong Dodgers fan who lived within walking distance of Ebbets Field in Brooklyn while growing up, Rose attended Jackie Robinson’s first game with the club in April 1947. A half-century later, he produced a tribute to Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully for the TV Academy.
Rose also was executive vice president for the Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation for spinal cord injuries and executive vice president of the Forgotten Heroes Foundation, which supports MLB and Negro League players denied pensions; a member of the 1994 World Cup soccer executive staff; and a Special Olympics board member.
Survivors include cousins Michael (and his wife, Ellen), Jane (and her husband, Larry), Randy and Ellen.