Joel Coler, Longtime Advertising and Publicity Exec at Fox International, Dies at 85

Courtesy Weissman/Markovitz Communications
Joel Coler

The Bronx native spent nearly three decades with the studio, then opened his own public relations agency.

Joel Coler, an advertising and publicity executive for 20th Century Fox International for almost three decades, has died. He was 85.

Coler died Monday at the Motion Picture & Television Fund campus in Woodland Hills, L.A., after a battle with Alzheimer's disease, publicist Leonard Morpurgo announced.

Coler was promoted to vp advertising and publicity for 20th Century Fox International in 1981 and remained in the position until 1992. He then left to launch Joel Coler & Friends, a public relations agency that specialized in representing international film activities.

Among his clients was the San Sebastian Film Festival, which he represented for 20 years and which honored him for his service in 2012.

Coler was born in New York and was a lifelong member of the Bronx Boys, a group of friends who met at P.S. 80 in the late 1930s. He graduated from Syracuse University in 1953 with degrees in journalism and sociology.

From 1953 to 1955, Coler served in the U.S. Air Force and earned the rank of captain while stationed in Ulm, Germany. After his discharge, he joined NBC in the advertising department, then became an assistant account executive with Grey Advertising.

Coler joined Fox as director of international advertising and publicity in 1964 and moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1972. He worked on publicity campaigns for such noteworthy films as The Sound of Music, Young Frankenstein and Star Wars.

Coler often lectured about international film marketing at UCLA and was a member of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Advisory Committee and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Business and Professional Committee.

Survivors include his wife of 58 years, Sandra; daughters Karen and Linda; son-in-law, Jordan; grandchildren Nicolette, Colton and Colin; and sister Bunny.

A memorial celebration is being planned. Donations may be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund.