New York film publicist Marion Billings, who worked with some of the most prominent directors and actors in Hollywood, died Sunday at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, N.J. She was 91.
While working with young directors including Martin Scorsese, Oliver Stone and Paul Mazursky, and helping foreign directors like Ingmar Bergman and Milos Forman reach American audiences, Billings publicized films including “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” “Taxi Driver,” “Raging Bull,” “The Last Temptation of Christ,” “Goodfellas,” “Wall Street,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” “Kramer vs. Kramer” and “Fatal Attraction.”
Scorsese said in a statement Wednesday: “Marion Billings was one of the last of the old guard of publicists. It was never just business with Marion. Her clients all adored her, and I’m proud to say that I was one of them for many years. We started working together at the very beginning of my career, in 1968, and for three decades she was a close collaborator, a fierce protector and, above all, a close and trusted friend to me and my family. Some of those years were pretty tough, and Marion handled it all beautifully. She was great at what she did, and she was a very special human being. For me, for many others, this is a very sad goodbye.”
In addition to her work with directors, some of Billings’ prominent acting clients included Robert De Niro, Tom Cruise, Meryl Streep, Mary Steenburgen, Harvey Keitel and Tom Berenger.
Billings worked in MGM’s publicity department before joining Arthur Canton’s film PR and marketing agency and then, in the late 1960s, forming her own agency, which would go on to be known as M/S Billings Publicity Ltd. and remain active until 2007.
Billings was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
She is survived by two nephews.