Marlene Palmer, a veteran publicist whose clients included Anne Murray, Bryan Adams and Loverboy, died at the Victoria Hospice in Victoria, British Columbia on Dec. 30, 2017. The cause of death was ovarian cancer, according to her husband Phillip Hurst. She was 62.
Palmer’s career started in broadcasting, with on-air positions in Alberta and Victoria. In 1979, she answered a newspaper ad placed by Bruce Allen of Bruce Allen Talent in Vancouver seeking a music publicist. Bruce Allen’s firm managed Bryan Adams and Loverboy and Palmer was a key component of their rise to global success.
Palmer would later work with another Canadian superstar, singer Anne Murray, as well as with George Fox and Rita MacNeil.
Said Murray of Palmer: “Marlene and I worked together for 31 years. She was a consummate professional and a joy to work with. When she set things up, everything went like clockwork. I would show up and the first thing people would say was, ‘Marlene Palmer is amazing!’ And so she was. She saw the big picture so well while attending to all the details. Everyone loved working with Marlene. Not only did we work well together, but she was a dear friend and I will miss her terribly.”
Added Bruce Allen: “In 1980 a former CHEK Victoria on-air reporter walked into my office, and said that she’d like to work with me in the music business as a publicist. That was in the era of ‘dreamers and telephone screamers.’ Marlene Palmer and I worked together for 37 years, only interrupted by her occasional “walkabouts” when she took her prodigious talent to the CBC or to Balmur Entertainment. Marlene brought with her dignity, professionalism, and a tremendous respect for those who she worked with. She respected, and admired talent, always making sure that her clients were protected as they moved along in their careers. She shunned the spotlight, but made sure that it shone on her clients as much as possible. Marlene Palmer was the best.”
Bryan Adams wrote of Palmer:
“Marlene started working with Bruce around the same time I did, in 1979 / 1980. She was very quiet and demure, and completely inoffensive compared to the animals she was working with. She was a calm oasis in a hurricane. This unflappable character trait never changed in the 30+ years we worked together. Her emails to me were always very long and detailed. She was a very dedicated hard worker, someone you could absolutely depend on, no matter what the circumstances. In other words, no matter how loud Bruce yelled!
“I remember the day Marlene’s life changed, it was the day that Katie was to arrive in Canada, and for her to be a mum. Her eyes welled up with happy tears as she told me of Katie’s imminent arrival. Nothing in the world meant more to her than being a mum to Katie; yes even more than Bruce Allen and Bryan Adams!
“It breaks my heart to think that Marlene and I were still corresponding only weeks before she passed away, and even when I asked her how she was, she was quiet and demure about it. Not wanting me to worry, and seemingly unfazed by her ordeal. Just a calm oasis in a hurricane, that was our Marlene. Goodbye, farewell, you will never be forgotten.”
Palmer is survived by husband Phillip Hurst; daughter Katie Hurst; mother Lorraine Palmer; and sister Sharron Forrester