PR maven Lois Smith dies at 84

Represented Monroe, Streep and Redford

Lois Smith, a key figure behind PR firm PMK and a New York publicist whose clients ranged from Marilyn Monroe to Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Michelle Pfeiffer and Sean Penn, died Sunday in Lewiston, Maine, from a brain hemorrhage after a fall the day before. She was 84.

Other Smith clients included Robert Altman, William Hurt, Martin Scorsese, Rosie O’Donnell and Whitney Houston.

Smith (formerly Lois Weber) left the firm Allen, Foster, Ingersoll and Weber, in which she was a partner, in 1969 to form Pickwick Public Relations with partners Patricia Newcomb, Gerry Johnson and Pat Kingsley.

Leaving public relations work, she did a brief stint in film production at United Artists and Marble Arch; “Sophie’s Choice” was among the films on which she worked.

Smith returned to PR, however, and with Peggy Siegel formed a new firm, Smith and Siegel, where she spent several years. Smith eventually rejoined Kingsley and new partners Leslee Dart and Neil Koenigsberg at PMK Public Relations, which was the result of a merger between Pickwick PR and Maslansky/Koenigsberg PR).

Smith was presented with the Publicists Guild’s lifetime achievement award in 2003 and the Matrix Award from Women in Communications in 2001.

Survivors include Smith’s husband, Gene; sons Eric and Luke; daughter Brooke, an actress whose godfather is Redford; and four granddaughters. Her son Scott died in 1985.

A public memorial will be announced at a later date.

Donations may be made to the Scott Smith Scholarship Fund at Hebron Academy, Hebron, Maine.

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