×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Betty Shapian

Public relations professional

Betty Shapian, public relations professional who for 35 years promoted top-level authors including former U.S. presidents and many other notables, died of cancer April 15 Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 73.

Ridgefield, N.J., native launched her career in New York, working initially in Doubleday’s foreign department, then for its publicity department and eventually eight years assisting company prexy Nelson Doubleday. At one point during her early career, she spent five months with President Dwight D. Eisenhower working on his memoirs. Meanwhile, while still at Doubleday, she studied English literature at Columbia U. and later at the New School.

In 1967, Shapian was assigned to head the Doubleday project of opening a West Coast office to handle its touring writers. During that time, she represented Louis Nizer, Averell Harriman, Peter Ustinov, Pierre Salinger, Victor Borge, Garson Kanin, Alex Haley, James Michener, Irving Stone, David Attenborough, Adela Rogers-St. Johns, Dorothy Lamour, Elsa Lancaster, Arthur Hailey, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Erma Bombeck, who became a lifelong friend.

In the mid-1970s Shapian, launched her own PR, firm Shapian & Associates, where she handled the book publicity for such clients as William F. Buckley, Gloria Steinem, Judith Krantz, Liz Smith, Leon Uris, Michael Korda, Carolyn See, Irving Wallace, Edmund Hillary, Herman Wouk, Ray Bradbury, Gerry Spence, Isaac Asimov, John Kenneth Galbraith, Gore Vidal, Pauline Kael, Sylvia Porter, Thor Heyerdahl, Leticia Baldridge and others.

In 1973 she also edited (with Chuck Morrell) the first “Los Angeles Menu Guide” and revised that publication in 2001. She developed an alliance with On the Scene Prods., pioneering electronic publicity for the publishing industry and handled electronic book publicity for Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan as well as Robert Parker, Sydney Sheldon, Joseph Wambaugh, Jackie Collins, Joan Collins, Helen Gurley Brown, Donald Trump, Ivana Trump, Charles Schulz, George Shultz, Donald Regan, Malcolm Forbes, Nancy Reagan, Jonathan Winters, Bette Davis, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Iacocca, Hank Aaron, Wayne Gretzky and Sammy Sosa.

Author Max Shulman who penned “Rally ‘Round the Flag, Boys” named the heroine of his book “Anybody Got a Match?” Polly Shapian, in honor of the publicist.

She is survived by companion Drew Bond, three sisters and two nephews.

More Scene

  • Laurie Metcalf, John Lithgow'Hillary and Clinton'

    Why John Lithgow Worried About Starring in Broadway's 'Hillary and Clinton'

    When Lucas Hnath first conceived of “Hillary and Clinton” in 2008, he was writing for and about a very different America. Now, a total reimagining of the show has made its way to Broadway with Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow in the titular roles. At the opening on Thursday night, the cast and creatives talked [...]

  • Patrick Page, Amber Grey, Eva Noblezada,

    'Hadestown' Took 12 Years to Get to Broadway, but It's More Relevant Than Ever

    When “Hadestown” was first staged as a tiny, DIY theater project in Vermont, those involved could never have predicted that it was the start of a 12-year journey to Broadway — or how painfully relevant it would be when it arrived. At Wednesday night’s opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre, the cast and creatives discussed [...]

  • Mick Jagger

    Mick Jagger Makes First Post-Surgery Appearance at Rolling Stones Ballet Premiere

    Rock legend Mick Jagger made his first public appearance post-heart surgery on Thursday night to catch a glimpse of the world premiere of the Rolling Stones ballet “Porte Rouge.” “I hope you are going to enjoy this wonderful new ballet, and, of course, the music,” the frontman declared in a pre-recorded message to the audience [...]

  • Adam Driver appears at the curtain

    Adam Driver on Starring in 'Burn This' for a Second Time

    The Hudson Theatre’s new production of “Burn This” marks its first Broadway revival since it premiered on the Great White Way in 1987, but Adam Driver is no stranger to the work. He starred as Pale in a Juilliard production of the Lanford Wilson drama when he was still a student — and only now, [...]

  • PMC Event Rome

    Film, Fashion, Formula E Mix at Rome E-Prix Bash

    Film, fashion and Formula E auto-racing fused during a dinner and celebration of the Rome E-Prix on Thursday at the Palazzo Dama by the Piazza del Popolo in the heart of the Eternal City.  Guests mingled and sipped cocktails as hors d’oeuvres were passed around in a former home of the Italian nobility with conversation [...]

  • Katy Perry, Diane von Furstenberg, Arianna

    Katy Perry and Anita Hill Honored at the DVF Awards

    Katy Perry was among the honorees at the 10th Annual DVF Awards on Thursday night. The singer was recognized for her advocacy work with both UNICEF and the LGBTQ community. “Music has opened the doors for so many opportunities for me,” she said while accepting the inspiration award. “The ability to meet people and champion [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content