Edward “Eddie” Lawrence, one of the last members of MGM’s legendary publicity department during its halcyon years, died Aug. 1 of natural causes at his Cheviot Hills, Calif. home. He was 95.
Lawrence was responsible for spearheading the publicity campaigns of numerous Metro features including “Pride and Prejudice,” “Waterloo Bridge,” Butterfield 8″ and “Romeo and Juliet” as well as several Hepburn and Tracy films.
Noted for his courtly manner, Lawrence handled special assignments with some the studio’s biggest stars, including Jean Harlow, Wallace Beery, Norma Shearer and Greer Garson.
He started at the studio in 1935, where his first job was promoting “Romeo and Juliet,” starring Norma Shearer and Leslie Howard.
Soon after, he was hobnobbing with many movie stars. He was once assigned to take Clark Gable to see “Mutiny on the Bounty.” He tried to sneak the movie star in a side door, but Gable refused.
“Oh, no. Gable always goes in the front door,” Lawrence recalled the screen idol saying.
“So that’s what we did,” Lawrence told the Los Angeles Times long afterward. “Straight in, through the front, without stopping, and a girl looked up and fainted on the spot.”
Before he joined MGM, he was the golf and yachting editor at the Los Angeles Times during the 1920s and 1930s. He retired from MGM in 1969.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Helen, a daughter and a granddaughter.
Family suggests donations in his name be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation.