Industry vet Olsen retires

Publicist headed firm, repped many stars

Veteran entertainment industry publicist Dale Olson has announced his early retirement from the industry, effective June 1, to pursue charitable activities.

For the past 13 years, Olson has headed his own Dale C. Olson & Associates public relations firm, which was sold several years ago to Eugene Harbin. Olson made international news as the spokesman for longtime client Rock Hudson during his highly publicized battle with AIDS and subsequent death from the disease.

Olson began his career as a journalist, initially as West Coast editor of Boxoffice magazine, then with Daily Variety for six years as a reporter and reviewer in all areas of the entertainment industry, including primary theater critic.

Olson jumped over to the publicity business when he joined the Mirisch Corp. as publicity director. His first campaign with the prominent indie production company was the five-time Academy Award-winning film “In the Heat of the Night.”

During his tenure at the company, Olson handled publicity for such Oscar-winning actors as Walter Matthau, Jocelynne LaGarde, Maggie Smith, James Whitmore, Robert Duvall, Shirley MacLaine and Lee Grant, as well as numerous documentary and foreign films and special Academy projects.

After leaving the Mirisch Corp. following the death of Harold Mirisch, Olson became president of the motion picture division at Rogers & Cowan. He was responsible for numerous national and international motion picture campaigns, including the launching of the “Rocky,” “Superman” and “Halloween” series. Olson served as corporate exec VP until he left to form his own company.

In addition to motion picture accounts, Olson has represented such key entertainment figures and companies as Gene Kelly, Steve McQueen, David L. Wolper, James Earl Jones, Tony Curtis, Laurence Olivier, Diana Rigg, the Center Theatre Group of the Ahmanson Theatre, the Producers Guild of America and the Eastman Kodak Co.

Following his retirement, Olson intends to increase his support of the Actors Fund of America. He has been on the organization’s board of trustees for several years.

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