Sue Barton, Former Publicist and Marketing Exec at Columbia Pictures, Dies at 79

Courtesy of Carolyn Pfeiffer
Sue Barton

The Montana native also worked for director Robert Altman and appeared in 'Nashville.'

Sue Barton, a publicist and marketing veteran who worked for Columbia Pictures, Universal Pictures, MGM and director Robert Altman, has died. She was 79.

Barton died Jan. 5 in Monterey, California, of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, her friend, producer Carolyn Pfeiffer, announced.

In 1975, Barton was hired as national director of publicity for Columbia Pictures, then promoted to vp publicity and promotion East Coast. She helped with the rollout of more than 50 studio films, including best picture Oscar winner Gandhi and Tootsie, both released in 1982.

Barton then served as a top marketing executive at Universal Pictures and MGM before returning to Columbia/Sony as senior vp marketing East Coast in the early 1990s. She retired a few years later.

Born Nov. 26, 1938, in Butte, Montana, Barton spent much of her youth with her parents in U.S. national parks (her father was a forest ranger). The family moved to California in 1945, and Barton became a model in Los Angeles.  

Barton moved to London in the 1970s and joined Pfeiffer's public relations firm as an associate. Among her clients were actors Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jane Seymour and Ian McShane and directors Altman and Norman Jewison.

She then worked as director of publicity for Altman's production company and appeared as a publicist — named Sue Barton — in Nashville (1975).

Barton also worked for many years with Tippi Hedren on the actress' Shambala Preserve in Acton, California.

A private memorial service at the Lodge at Pebble Beach will be held in April to celebrate her life.