Jonni Hartman Rogers, Publicist and TV Producer, Dies

Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan
Jonni Hartman Rogers

She worked alongside Steve Edwards in Houston and represented the likes of Bob Hope and David Hasselhoff in L.A. Her daughter is actress Lisa Hartman Black.

Jonni Hartman Rogers, a veteran entertainment publicist who started out as a groundbreaking producer for live television shows in Houston, has died, her husband announced. Her age was not revealed.

She died Tuesday from ovarian cancer at her home in Franklin, Tenn. Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, singer and actress Lisa Hartman Black (Knots Landing) and country singer-songwriter Clint Black.

After a stint at Rogers & Cowan, Hartman Rogers in the 1980s established the Los Angeles PR firm Slade, Grant, Hartman and Hartman with partners Melinda Slade, Ward Grant and Terri Hartman, another daughter.

Their roster included Hartman Black, Bob Hope, David Hasselhoff, Forest Whitaker and Brenda Vaccaro and such corporate clients as Dick Clark Productions and The Comedy Store chain. Hartman Rogers also served as an adviser and consultant for producer Aaron Spelling's many TV shows.

Born and raised in Tennessee, Hartman Rogers spent a decade at Houston's KPRC-TV, where she eventually became a producer for live programs. At that time, she was one of only three female TV producers in the country.

Later, she joined KHOU as an executive producer for TV personality Steve Edwards, who now hosts the Good Day L.A. morning program on the Fox station KTTV.

While in Houston, Hartman Rogers and Mack Newberry founded a PR company that developed the arena show for daredevil motorcyclist Evel Knievel and coordinated opening events in 1968 for AstroWorld Theme Park.

She spent two years in New York at Edward Petrie and Co., where she wrote and produced the firm's creative development strategy and coordinated projects for comedian Bill Dana. She moved to Los Angeles and joined Rogers & Cowan in 1978.

In 1994, she married singer Ray Rogers, who had performed on TV shows that she produced. His group, Ray Rogers and the Bojangles, toured internationally, and he owned and operated the popular Club Bojangles in Houston.

Her daughter Lisa is best known for portraying Cathy Geary on four seasons of the popular 1980s' CBS drama Knots Landing. Earlier, she played the title character on the Bewitched spinoff Tabitha.

In addition to her daughters, her husband and Black, survivors also include her grandchildren Colleen, Cole and Lily, great-grandchildren Landry and Dagny and stepson Chris.