Publicist, journalist

Longtime publicist and journalist Robert “Bob” L. Rooney died at his BevHills home March 22 after a six-month battle with esophageal cancer.

Born in Riverside, Calif., and raised in Los Angeles, he graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English, lived in Spain as a United Press Intl. correspondent and then created Herreros/Rooney and Associates PR firm in Madrid, where he publicized the pic “Doctor Zhivago” and plopped Alka Seltzer in the Spanish market.

He relocated to Paris, to join UA as director of production publicity for Europe before taking over as European advertising-publicity director for Harry Saltzman Prods. Ultimately, Rooney spent his Parisian days working for Franco-London Films. He worked closely on the Brigitte Bardot starrer “Viva Maria” and became Bardot’s escort on her first trips to America.

His blockbuster publicity portfolio includes “Tom Jones,” “Lawence of Arabia,” “Return of the Seven,” “Battle of Britain,” and “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service.”

After more than 20 years abroad, Rooney returned to Los Angeles to do unit publicity for films that include “Why Would I Lie,” “Malone,” “Winter Kills,” and most recently “Shade.” He joined Warren Cowan & Associates working as a publicist until two weeks before his death.

He is survived by daughter Natalie Rooney Massenet (founder of London-based fashion site net-a-porter.com), son-in-law and Lehman Bros. banker Arnaud Massenet and grandaughter.

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