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Publicists give lifetime nod to Wasserman

MCA/Universal chairman emeritus Lew Wasserman was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award, producer Arnold Kopelson got the Motion Picture Showmanship Award and CBS Entertainment prexy Leslie Moonves received the TV Showmanship honor at the 34th annual Publicists Guild of America Awards at a Friday luncheon at the Beverly Hilton.

Wasserman, whose award was presented by Motion Picture Assn. of America prexy Jack Valenti, was honored “for a career of unparalleled accomplishments … for extraordinary leadership both in times of industry crisis and well-being … and for a half-century of service to charitable and humanitarian causes.”

Billion-dollar club

Kopelson, whose films have included “Eraser,” “Seven,” “Outbreak,” “Falling Down” and the Oscar-winning “Platoon,” was honored for his work in films, which have earned more than $1.25 billion worldwide.

Moonves received his prize for “restoring CBS to a position of industry preeminence” in less than two years on the job.

This year’s Press Award went to Leonard Maltin, film critic for “Entertainment Tonight,” while the Intl. Media Award was presented to Michael Conte, the Hollywood-based correspondent for Spain’s Canal Plus and France’s Cine Cinema.

Twentieth Century Fox swept the film and TV publicity honors, with its domestic and international publicists sharing the Maxwell Weinberg Publicists Showmanship Award for their work on “Independence Day”; Fran Zell, of 20th Century Fox Intl. Publicity, receiving the Les Mason Award for career achievement; and Steven Melnick taking the TV campaign honor for his work on Fox’s “The X-Files.”

Community service

Lisa Kasteler, a partner in Wolf-Kasteler PR, was honored with the Bob Yeager Award in recognition of her community service to the Christopher Reeve Foundation.

Elton John made a surprise appearance to present a Special Award of Merit to Denise Greenawalt, VP of publicity at Walt Disney Studios, in recognition of her community work.

Presenters at the awards included Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Seagal, Patrick Duffy, Dick Van Dyke, Barry Van Dyke, Swoosie Kurtz and Daniel Benzali.

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