Los Angeles PR Consultant Howard Bragman Passes at 66
Howard Bragman, the legendary Los Angeles public relations consultant and PR guru passed away from leukemia on February 11, 2023, at the age of 66.
Bragman was known for his pioneering work in the field of public relations, helping to shape the image of numerous celebrities, politicians, and organizations over his long and distinguished career. In his honor, we are bumping this interview with him from our archives to the top of our show feed.
Born in Flint, Michigan on February 24, 1956, Bragman moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s and quickly made a name for himself in the world of public relations. He founded his own firm, Bragman Nyman Cafarelli (BNC), in 1989, and over the years, his clients included a veritable who's who of Hollywood, including Cameron Diaz, Paula Abdul, Stevie Wonder, Sharon Osbourne, Monica Lewinsky, Joe Manganiello, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Ricki Lake and Melissa Rivers.
Bragman was also a trailblazer in the area of LGBTQ+ representation, working with many LGBTQ+ clients and advocating for greater visibility and acceptance of the community in the media. In 1993, he famously helped Ellen DeGeneres come out as gay on her television show, becoming a leading advocate in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights.
In addition to his work in public relations, Bragman was also a sought-after media commentator and author, writing several books on the topic of reputation management and appearing on numerous television and radio programs to offer his insights on current events and the entertainment industry. Bragman was an Adjunct Professor in Public Relations at the University of Southern California's Annenberg Center for Communication.
Bragman was known for his sharp wit, his tireless work ethic, and his unwavering commitment to his clients. He was widely respected in the industry for his integrity, professionalism, and dedication to the craft of public relations.
Bragman is survived by his husband, Chuck O'Donnell, as well as by his sister, Marcy, and his brother, Barry. He will be deeply missed by his family, his colleagues, and his many friends and admirers in the world of public relations and beyond.
In this podcast, which I recorded with Howard 20 years ago when the internet was just becoming a business communications tool, and he spoke about the impact of on-demand media consumption, and how the shift from appointment-driven to on-demand news consumption makes it more important for public relations consultants to focus ensuring that clients' messages are reaching their target audience, regardless of how or when they consume the content.
Bragman also mentioned that PR is doing a better job than mainstream advertising in utilizing technology to spread the word for clients. However, he cautioned that information on the web can be like cotton candy and urged PR consultants to consider the source and medium when placing stories.
When we spoke, he had just sold BNC to Weber Shandwick, and launched his boutique agency FifettenMinutesbased on Andy Warhols predication that in the future, everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes.
Hear the Secrets of Successful PR Howard Bragman, founder of BNC, Bragman, Nyman and Cafarelli, and Fifteenminutes, posthumous in this historical episode of the On the Record Online podcast with Eric Schwartzman.