A Publicist’s Name In Lights

The Manhattan Theater Club announced it is renaming its Broadway theater, the Biltmore, after Samuel J. Friedman, a venerable –gasp!– press agent! Which, I suppose, is better than after a corporation or a lawyer/former president of the Shubert Organization. At least the guy actually, you know, slaved away in the trenches. Says the Times:

Mr. Friedman came from the old cigarette and tie-clip days of publicity, when press agents would show up at newspaper offices like Sidney Falco in “Sweet Smell of Success,” jockeying for column ink.

Bob Ullman, a former associate of Mr. Friedman’s, was pleased to hear that a flack would be honored in such a fashion, saying “I mean, press agents are the patsies of Broadway.” From someone who’s been there, it is too true! Though a note to Shirley Herz, who in the article called Friedman the “last angry press agent”: Oh honey, there are plenty who’re still angry.

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