Hollywood bids farewell to legendary Oscar campaign publicist Murray Weissman

Weissman helped to promote seven films that won the Oscar for Best Picture.

STUDIO CITY, CA: Hollywood publicist and awards campaign innovator Murray Weissman passed away on Monday of complications from pancreatic cancer. He was 90.

His client list during his career included Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, and Dick Van Dyke. Weissman also led Academy Awards Best Picture nominee campaigns for 38 films over the course of his 60-year career. He racked up seven Best Picture winners: The Sting, Kramer vs. Kramer, Dances with Wolves, The English Patient, Shakespeare in Love, Chicago, and Crash.

For 14 straight award seasons, 1991 through 2005, Weissman worked for Miramax Films, garnering 11 Best Picture nominations, three of which won the Best Picture statue.  

Weissman was chairman and founder of Weissman/Markovitz Communications. He ran the company, founded in 2006, with his son in law, Rick Markovitz. Weissman started his own company in 1981 after spending 10 years at Universal Pictures as chief of the motion picture publicity department.

He also contributed to the public relations work for six Steven Spielberg films. Weissman led the PR campaign for Spielberg’s Jaws, which opened in a then-unprecedented 400 theaters and broke many box-office records, according to a statement from WMC.

Early in his career, Weissman was a press and publicity executive for ABC and CBS as well as Columbia Pictures, Lorimar Productions (now a part of Warner Bros. Television), and TV Guide.

Weissman was born in Brooklyn and moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1936. He graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Journalism. He served as a radio operator in the US Navy during World War II.

Weissman is survived by his second wife, Kay; his children, Julie and Benjamin; his son- and daughter-in law, Rick and Amy; and his grandchildren, Ethan, Jonathan, and Elizabeth.

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