Tex McCrary, legendary Gotham publicist who popularized the talkshow format and helped convince Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for president, died July 29 in New York. He was 92.
McCrary and his wife, actress-model Jinx Falkenburg, had two radio talkshows — “Hi Jinx” and “Meet Tex and Jinx” — and a TV show, sometimes broadcasting from Gotham’s Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where they could nab celebs as they stopped to pick up their room keys.
McCrary convinced Eisenhower to run for president by staging a huge public rally in Madison Square Garden, at which thousands of supporters chanted “We want Ike,” and waved “I Like Ike” signs and banners. Eisenhower said he was “deeply touched” by the outpouring.
One of McCrary’s biggest PR successes was producing an exhibit, for 1959’s United States Exhibition in Moscow, of his client Herbert Sadkin’s “typical American house.” Its kitchen became the setting for a famous debate on the merits of capitalism between Vice President Richard Nixon and Nikita Khrushchev of the Soviet Union.
Born John Reagan McCrary in 1910 in Calvert, Texas, the son of a cotton farmer hurt by the Depression later attended Phillips Exeter Academy and Yale U., where he was a member of Skull and Bones.
He started in journalism as a copy boy at the New York World-Telegram. He left to join the Daily Mirror, later becoming its chief editorial writer.
After divorcing his first wife in 1939, McCrary began writing the column “Only Human” and in 1941 met Falkenburg when he interviewed her; she was starring in Broadway tuner “Hold Onto Your Hats” with Al Jolson.
McCrary joined the Army Air Corps during World War II and became a photographer and PR officer. In 1945, he was one of the first Americans to visit Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped. He advised journalists not to write about what they had seen, because he did not think Americans could stand to know “what we’ve done here.” After John Hersey published his account in the New Yorker, McCrary said, “I covered it up, and John Hersey uncovered it. That’s the difference between a PR man and a reporter.”
After the war, McCrary edited the American Mercury magazine. He soon renewed his friendship with Falkenburg, who had become a star under contract at MGM and was one of the nation’s highest-paid models. They were married in June 1945.
Although they were separated years later, they never divorced.
She survives him, along with their sons Kevin and John and son Michael, from his first marriage.