Norma Nannini, longtime executive secretary to Variety editors Abel Green, Syd Silverman and Peter Bart, died Aug. 10 of pancreatic cancer in New York City. She was 70.
Nannini, a colorful fixture at the paper for 36 years, was known as a fiercely loyal, oft-outspoken and always high-pitched, high-energy member of the extended Variety family. While performing a variety of tasks for her bosses, she made it a point to connect with just about every person related to the paper, making sure they knew their roles, had their credentials in order, received their paychecks on time — and got the advice she thought they needed.
In keeping with the traditions of the paper, she was more acerbic than ingratiating in her tone, more withering than whimsical in her assessments.
Nannini started at Variety on 46th Street in New York as secretary to editor Abel Green in 1957 and remained in that position until Green’s death in 1973. During those early years, she was often in contact with the stars of the day, from Milton Berle to Maurice Chevalier. In running interference for her first boss, Nannini inadvertently developed her own love for the entertainment biz and the theater in particular.
After Green’s death, she took over secretarial duties for Variety owner-publisher Syd Silverman until the paper was sold to Cahner’s Corp. (now Reed Elsevier) in 1987.
When the New York offices were moved to 475 Park Avenue South, Nannini subsequently became chief secretary to the new editor-in-chief, Peter Bart. She left the paper when the headquarters of Weekly Variety were moved to Los Angeles in late 1993.
Nannini is survived by a sister, Fedora, and a brother.