Paul Bloch, the well-known publicist who served as chairman of publicity powerhouse Rogers & Cowan and worked with clients including John Travolta, Michael Keaton and Tom Cruise, died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles after a long illness. He was 78.
Bloch was adept at handling P.R. crises, such as Eddie Murphy being stopped for picking up a prostitute, throughout his five-decade career in Hollywood — the entire time at Rogers & Cowan.
The veteran publicist took over managing Cruise’s P.R. after the disastrous couch-jumping episode of 2005. Bloch worked with Cruise for the next five years.
“Paul was not one of the best. He was the best. To say he will be missed is like saying Everest is a mountain,” said longtime publicist Stan Rosenfield.
Among the other stars for whom he handled damage control were Nick Nolte, who was arrested for driving under the influence, and Lisa Marie Presley, whose rumored divorce from Michael Jackson made it into British tabloids before the official announcement.
He also worked with musicians such as Barry Gibb and Diana Ross as well as actors Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner, Anthony Hopkins and Farrah Fawcett.
Born in Brooklyn, he attended UCLA and started out at Rogers & Cowan in the mailroom in 1961. Co-founders Henry Rogers and Warren Cowan helped him get his start working for clients such as Kirk Douglas and Chuck Connors, and he later became president of the music department, representing acts including the Beach Boys and Ricky Nelson.
He also worked with a newer generation of actors including Brie Larson, Liam Hemsworth and Donnie Yen. In addition to performers, Bloch repped filmmakers including Robert Zemeckis, Jerry Bruckheimer, Brian Grazer and Glenn Gordon Caron.
Bloch was honored with the Les Mason award of the Publicists’ Guild in 1991.
He is survived by a sister, Lois Golden, nephew Douglas Golden and nieces Andrea Mohr and Victoria Silverman.
A memorial service is pending.