John Strauss, longtime independent publicist who operated in Hollywood during much of the last century, died Friday of natural causes in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 88.
Strauss, whose roster of clients included Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Mitchum, Vincent Price, Nat “King” Cole and Joanne Dru, is perhaps best remembered for serving as James Stewart’s personal public relations counselor for more than 45 years, until Stewart’s death in 1997.
A graduate of Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale U., Strauss worked four years as a bond trader on Wall Street before joining Warner Bros. as a sales representative in Buffalo, N.Y. He later relocated to the WB lot in Burbank, where he worked in the publicity department. He subsequently worked in the publicity departments of several other studios including Columbia Pictures, where he was appointed director of publicity.
Strauss opened up his own public relations agency and, following a series of mergers, became founder and president of McFadden, Strauss, Eddy and Irwin (MSEI) and ICPR.
Strauss’ companies were active in all phases of public relations including corporate PR with clients such as 3M, Whirlpool, Technicolor, Crocker Bank, Avco, General Motors and Ford.
He also represented some of the biggest TV production companies of the day including Quinn Martin, Desilu, Lorimar, David L. Wolper Prods. and Paramount TV. He additionally represented such film companies as United Artists, RKO, National General and numerous independent film companies.
Strauss served five years as a trustee of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and secretary-treasurer of the Hollywood chapter.
He is survived by wife Renee, a daughter, a son and three grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. on Friday at Kol Tikvah Synagogue, 20400 Ventura Blvd., Woodland Hills.
Family suggests donations in Strauss’ name be made to the Humane Society.