Ad exec Nathan Weiss dies at 85

Co-author of notorious 'Cleopatra Papers'

Film advertising exec and author Nathan Weiss died in New York on July 3 after a long illness. He was 85.

Weiss was based in London from 1967 to 1975 as the European ad-pub director for MGM. He supervised campaigns for films including David Lean’s “Ryan’s Daughter,” George Cukor’s “Travels with My Aunt” and Ken Russell’s “The Boyfriend,” in which English model Twiggy, made her screen debut. On a freelance basis he coordinated the campaigns for Herbert Ross’ “Seven Per Cent Solution,” Carol Reed’s “Oliver” and “Is Paris Burning” for Ray Stark.

He began his movie career at 20th Century Fox in the press book department and was promoted by VP Charlie Einfeld to publicity and advertising director.

Following the release of the spectacle “Cleopatra” with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Weiss and co-author Joseph Brodsky published the notorious “Cleopatra Papers.” The book was comprised of a series of letters, wires and phone calls between Weiss (in New York) and Brodsky (in Rome) and offered an insider’s view of the problem-laden movie. The book created a stir in the entertainment industry with its revelations about the Burton-Taylor affair, as well as the administrative power wars at Fox.

A Bostonian who exhibited an early interest in the arts, Weiss was also a veteran of WWII and taught Japanese to American soldiers as part of the ASTP program.

From New York, he initiated a theater column in the Jewish Advocate titled “The Bostonian on Broadway.”

Weiss maintained close relationships with many of the directors with whom he worked, especially Cukor, Joseph Mankiewicz, Lean, Herbert Ross and Sidney Lumet. One of his most successful collaborations was with Ross on Oscar-nommed “The Turning Point,” in which Mikhail Baryshnikov made his screen debut. Another highlight was “Robin and Marian,” for which Audrey Hepburn came out of retirement to co-star with Sean Connery.

Weiss also led all the publicity and advertising campaigns for Don Rugoff of Cinema 5 on films such as “Nothing But a Man” and “One Potato Two Potato.”

He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Golda.

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