Maria La Magra
Veteran homevideo publicist Maria La Magra, who was VP of publicity at what’s now Universal Studios Home Entertainment before beginning independent work as a PR consultant, died of cancer on Sunday, Aug. 7, in Sherman Oaks, Calif. She was 66.
As part of a 30-year career in the entertainment industry, La Magra oversaw publicity campaigns and other PR activities at Universal’s home entertainment unit for 11 years until 2002, ending her stint there as VP of publicity.
She began work in the video sector in 1984, joining Embassy Home Entertainment as director of public relations. After a stint in the consumer productions division at Daniel J. Edelman Public Relations, she joined Trimark Pictures as director in 1989, eventually becoming VP of theatrical and homevideo publicity.
La Magra joined MCA Home Video’s publicity department as topper in May 1991 and was seen as highly effective in that role. She was key to the launch of the “Jurassic Park” franchise and was credited with boosting Universal’s entry into the DVD market.
She was a consultant for Sony Pictures Home Entertainment after exiting U. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment had been among her clients since 2003, and in 2005 she joined forces with Nadia Bronson & Associates, where she was a PR consultant.
La Magra also represented individuals including Dee Wallace and the late Dixie Carter as an independent publicist.
The Plainfield, N.J., native grew up in the Bronx and then Los Angeles. La Magra graduated from UCLA in 1973.
She was a key mover in the Entertainment AIDS Alliance, where she served continuously on the board of directors for nearly 20 years, most recently as secretary of the org; her last public appearance was at an EAA event in June. La Magra also recently served on the board of directors of the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society.