That is how I would describe the consummate PR pro, Julian Myers, who passed away Saturday morning at the age of 95. I tweeted out news of his death Saturday afternoon saying he would be missed. It’s the end of an era to be sure. As long as I have been in, and around this business Myers has been there – a friendly , encouraging face at just about every major showbiz event. He lived for this stuff and could always be counted on to send along a letter highlighting an article in which I might have been mentioned, or offering an outstretched hand whenever I would see him. This man was the dean of Hollywood publicists who still toil in their profession. Hell, he wasn’t a publicist, he was a press agent. Even in his 90′s, very few others had a more unabashed and total enthusiasm for the business as it once was than Myers, while evolving with the times effortlessly.
He started off as nearly a charter member of USC’s Film School in 1937 and then worked in Columbia’s story department, but things really got cooking for him when he landed the job in the Fox publicity department in 1949. That was about the same time as when the career of Fox’s most famous star, Marilyn Monroe, also took off. Julian would often tell me about those days when he would have to go try to get the famously difficult actress out of bed and on to the set. He wasn’t her publicist as some outlets wrongly said in their headlines today, he was a loyal studio publicist – or more accurately press agent – who had 20th’s back in those days. One of his earliest encounters with her was in 1950 when she had a small role in the iconic Fox Oscar winner, All About Eve. In pure “press agent”fashion he even got the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel to block out all the letters in its neon sign except “EVE” when the film had its premiere across the street at Grauman’s Chinese. I love these stories. Again, old school. That’s who Julian was right up through the internet era of emails, Facebook and twitter. In fact I never received a single email from Julian. It was always the old fashioned way. But somehow the message got across. That is something he knew how to do as well as anyone. Appropriately over the years he won the highest honors of his profession from the Publicists Guild Of America.
He left Fox in ’62 and started his own company. He worked for American International in the ‘Beach Party ‘ heyday. He even invented “Amigo Day,” a humanitarian organization that promoted positive vibes among our fellow human beings. In this era of polarizing, vicious comments emanating from ‘Duck Dynasties’ of the world and the anonymous internet sniping, that message will be sorely missed.
Right to the end, Myers continued trying to teach the fundamentals of the business he loved. My wife Madelyn often appeared as a guest lecturer at his Loyola Marymount class on Public Relations. I even spoke there too. It was a privilege. Julian was part of a dying breed in this business and I always thought ‘attention must be paid’. His beloved Patsy died of complications from a stroke suddenly in October while the pair was in Las Vegas for one of the frequent marathons Myers ran, usually as its most senior entrant. He almost always finished those races too, the oldest in the pack and the last one standing. I don’t think he got over the loss of Patsy. I last saw him at her memorial service last month making sure she got the tribute she deserved. Still the oldest in the race, still standing.
And still, happily ‘old school’.