John Spencer West

John Spencer West, entertainment industry publicist, died July 24 in Los Angeles of AIDS. The date marked his 37th birthday.

Born in San Diego, West graduated from USC where he studied film history and criticism.

West moved to New York City in 1978, where he attended the graduate film history and criticism program at NYU. A year after leaving NYU, he joined the Manhattan office of Bobby Zarem as an assistant. After that short-lived stint, he was hired as an assistant in ICPR’s New York office.

In 1981, West joined PMK’s New York office as an assistant. In 1982, he was named account executive.

In 1984, he was offered the position of entertainment editor for Ultra Magazine, a Houston-based monthly, relocating to Texas. When the magazine’s ownership changed hands six months later, West left Houston for Los Angeles where he rejoined PMK as an account executive. In 1986, he was promoted to VP.

During his years at PMK, West was associated with the public relations campaigns for celebrities including Liza Minnelli, Bette Mid-ler, Robert Redford , Jimmy Smits, Barbara Hershey, Carrie Fisher, Richard Gere, Michelle Pfeiffer, Dixie Carter and Sean Penn. He worked on publicity for many films including those of Woody Allen, Mike Nichols, Louis Malle and John Waters.

His companion was Tom Gibson. Survived by his parents and a sister.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, Aug. 22, at 1 p.m. at the Director’s Guild of America, 7920 Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to Project Angel Food, Los Angeles.

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