Jeff Rose, a former Screen Gems and Paramount Pictures TV publicity executive whose long career also spanned CBS, Columbia Pictures, the Jerry Lewis Labor Day telethon, sports broadcasting, NBC’s Olympics, and multiple charities, has died at age 88 of natural causes.
Rose died at his home in West Hollywood, California on July 2, 2020, according to his cousin, Dr. Michael Gold, and his wife, Ellen, of Rockville, Md.
Rose was born July 14, 1931 in Brooklyn, New York, the only child of Dr. Julian Rose and Theresa Karp Rose. He attended Poly Prep in Brooklyn, and the University of Pennsylvania, where he was on (and helped coach) the varsity tennis and soccer teams; followed by Cornell Law School. His Army service saw him stationed in France and New Jersey.
Rose’s career began in New York City, where he joined the CBS Television Network, working in production, publicity, sports and news.
He worked on David Susskind’s 1960 “Open End” interview special with Russian President Nikita Khrushchev, which at the height of the Cold War garnered national attention.
He joined Screen Gems, a division of Columbia Pictures, which had been spun off from CBS in 1957. He became Director of Publicity and Promotion. Among shows he worked on was the 1969 episode of The Johnny Cash Show at the Arkansas State Penitentiary in Little Rock, Arkansas, which Rose arranged through then-Gov. Laurence Rockefeller.
After a decade, Rose became Assistant to the President of the New York City Council, under then-Mayor John Lindsay. “(Lindsay) created a Kennedyesque excitement, bringing into city government bright young people of wit, zeal and imagination,” reported The New York Times (2000).
Rose moved to Los Angeles in 1977, working in live sports, news and on the annual Jerry Lewis Muscular Dystrophy Telethons in the late 1970s and 1980s as writer and talent coordinator.
Rose was a writer-researcher for NBC’s Olympathon ’79 and served on the Citizens Commission for the 1974 Olympic games. He was the announcer the following year for the Olympic Sports Festival. He also was a member of the 1994 World Cup Soccer executive staff; and on the Special Olympics board for many years.
In Las Vegas, Rose produced coverage of the Riviera Hotel’s Annual Hall of Fame Golf Classic, where four dozen athletes from different sports (besides golf) competed on a TV special.
Rose made his most lasting impact in sports, especially as an active board member since 2008 of the Southern California Sports Broadcasters. He is credited with creation of a series of student broadcasting seminars, and helped program the group’s luncheon program in a ballroom.
“Jeff Rose was a loyal SCSB Board member for 4 different presidents over a period of 25 years,” said current President Chris Roberts. “ He was invaluable as a writer for our organization and for his sage advice.”
One event in a Toluca Lake club honored the most successful infield in baseball history –the Dodger’s Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell and Ron Cey.
Cey in 2018 returned the favor when he was presenter as the SCSB honored Rose with its the Legends Award.
“Jeff was such a special person,” recalled Cey. Incredibly talented in so many ways. Where his work took him and the people he met provided us all with wonderful stories of his personal experiences. The sarcastic humor he had with me was something I could always laugh about.”
“We shall all miss his inimitable style and panache,” said fellow board member, USC sports announcer Peter Arbogast.
Rose was a lifelong Dodger fan, as he wrote in a nostalgic article about Ebbets Field: “I spent the first 20 years of my life as a resident of Brooklyn, and I lived within walking distance of the stadium.. Being able to attend (Jackie Robinson’s) first game (the first for an African American) excited me on so many levels.”
Rose’s charitable efforts were also major league. He was Executive Vice President for the Roy and Roxie Campanella Foundation for Spinal Cord Injuries; and Executive VP of the Forgotten Heroes Foundation (supporting major and Negro League players denied pensions). He also produced a tribute to Vin Scully in 1997 for the TV Academy.
Besides Dr. Michael Gold and wife Ellen of Rockville Maryland, Rose is survived by Dr. Jane Karp of NYC, Randy Rose, and Ellen Wise Questel.