Robert Werden, Longtime Academy Awards Publicist, Dies at 94

Robert Werden obit
Courtesy Franchesca Werden

Robert Werden

He also worked on such films as 'The Deer Hunter,' 'Superman' and 'Pennies From Heaven.'

Robert Werden, who handled publicity for the Academy Awards for nearly two decades, died Oct. 31 of natural causes at his home in Los Angeles, his daughter, Franchesca Werden, announced. He was 94.

Werden also worked as a unit publicist on 40-plus motion pictures, including Airport (1970), The Deer Hunter (1978), Superman (1978), The Long Riders (1980), Pennies From Heaven (1981) and The Peacemaker (1997).

He did PR for the Oscars from 1975 to 1993, was a member of the Academy's foreign-language and documentary committees for more than a decade and was a judge for its Nicholl Fellowships and Student Film Awards.

Born in Brooklyn, Werden served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and survived the Battle of Leyte Gulf in 1944.

He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in public relations from Boston University, then managed key accounts for such clients as Dodge, Dr. Pepper, FTD and the Texas Democratic Party while at Grant Advertising.

Werden started in movie and television publicity at U.S. Borax and worked on the syndicated TV series Death Valley Days.

One of the founders of the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society, Werden also was a treasurer for the Publicists Guild and, since 1983, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In addition to his daughter and her spouse, Elizabeth, survivors include a stepson, David. A donation in his name can be made to Feeding America. For information about a memorial service, please contact werdenmemorial@gmail.com.