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Sue Barton, Publicity Executive for Columbia and Robert Altman, Dies at 79

Former Columbia Pictures publicity executive Sue Barton died Jan. 5 in Monterey, Calif. of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. She was 79.

Born in Butte, Montana, Barton was a top model in the 1960s. She moved to London in the 1970s, joining Carolyn Pfeiffer Lt. as a public relations associate, where she worked with clients including Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Jane Seymour, Ian McShane and directors Norman Jewison and Robert Altman.

She returned to Los Angeles to handle publicity for Altman, who cast her fittingly as a publicist named Sue Barton in “Nashville.”

During her tenure at Columbia Pictures, she oversaw campaigns for films including “Tootsie” and “Gandhi.” She moved to Universal and MGM as a marketing executive before returning to Columbia Pictures/Sony as Sr. VP of Marketing, East Coast in the early 1990s.

She was married to screenwriter-agent-producer Richard Gregson and to the late actor Billy Kirkland.

She worked with Tippi Hedren at the Shambala Preserve for many years. After retiring, she worked on local projects in Pacific Grove.

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A private memorial service at the Pebble Beach Lodge will be held in April.

(Pictured: Sue Barton with Roddy McDowall)

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