Robert Werden Dies: Longtime Film Publicist Who Led Oscars PR For 18 Years Was 94

Robert Werden dead; Oscars publicist
Robert Werden

Robert Werden, a longtime film industry publicist who handled the Academy’s Oscars publicity for 18 years, has died. He was 94. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said he died of natural causes at his Los Angeles home but didn’t provide the date.

An AMPAS member since 1983, Werden handled the publicity for the Oscars from 1975-93. For more than a decade, he served on both the Foreign Language Film Committee and the Documentary Film Committee for the Academy Awards.  Werden served as a judge for the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowships and the Academy Student Film Awards.

He also served as Treasurer of the Publicists Guild and was one of the founders of the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society. He was the unit publicist for more than motion pictures, including Best Picture Oscar winner The Deer Hunter, Superman, Peacemaker, The Long Riders, Pennies from Heaven and Airport.

Born in Brooklyn in 1926, Werden grew up on the East Coast. He served in the Navy during World War II and survived the Battle of Leyte Gulf — the largest naval engagement of the war and among the biggest in history. After graduating from Boston University, he was recruited by Grant Advertising and managed key accounts, including Dodge, Dr. Pepper, FTD and the Texas Democratic Party. Werden began handling publicity for films and television while at U.S. Borax, during which time he worked on the syndicated western anthology series Death Valley Days.

Werden is survived by his daughter, Franchesca; her spouse, Elizabeth Versace and step-son, David Hakim. He was predeceased by his wife, Rita. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that a donation be made to Feeding America. For information about the memorial service, email here.

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