Harvey Litwin, APA Co-Founder, Dies at 89

Harvey Litwin
Courtesy of APA

Harvey Litwin

The onetime MCA publicity exec and three others launched the agency in 1962.

Harvey Litwin, the former MCA publicity executive who co-founded the Agency for the Performing Arts, died Dec. 16 of heart failure in New York City. He was 89.

"I will truly miss my dear friend and mentor," APA CEO Jim Gosnell said in a statement. "Harvey was an extraordinarily generous and passionate man with a big heart. He was like an uncle to me and remained so very true and helpful to our company long after he retired. All of us at APA stand on the shoulders of our original founders, without whom we wouldn't be here today."

In 1962, Litwin played an integral role in the launch of APA in New York with fellow co-founders David Baumgarten, Roger Vorce and Robert Lasky. In the early years, the agency represented such iconic performers as The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, Janice Joplin, Harry Belafonte, Johnny Cash and Steve Martin, to name just a few, before opening offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, Atlanta, Toronto and London.

Born in Brooklyn and of Russian descent, Litwin graduated with a degree in advertising and public relations from City College in New York. After serving in the U.S. Army in Guam and Seoul, he pursued his graduate education in accounting and began his entertainment career as an MCA publicity director.

Litwin was named to APA's board of directors in 1982 and remained as the agency's CFO and executive vp until his retirement in 2002.

"A man who has few true friends is very fortunate. A man who has Harvey Litwin as a friend is truly blessed," Baumgarten once wrote.

Survivors include his wife, Gayle, stepdaughter Lauren, son-in-law Antonio and granddaughter Amelia. A video of his funeral service on Monday can be seen here, and a memorial will be scheduled next year to celebrate his life.