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Legendary Entertainment Publicist Warren Cowan Shares Hollywood PR Stories

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Just as Marilyn Monroe’s handprints are preserved at the Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd, so does this podcast preserve entertainment PR legend Warren Cowan, who shares about walking the red carpet at the Oscars, working with A listers and the history of the motion picture premier.  

After a stint with public relations company Alan Gordon and Associates and service in the Air Force during WWII, Cowan teamed with veteran publicist Henry Rogers to form Rogers and Cowan in 1949.

The company prospered as the Hollywood studio system broke down in the 1950s and the in-house studio publicity staffs no longer routinely fed competitive gossip columnists news of the studio’s contract stars.

Public relations companies filled the void and Rogers and Cowan grew into one of the largest Hollywood firms in the field, with nearly 200 employees and a client roster that has included Elizabeth Taylor, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis, Cybill Shepherd, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood and Michael Keaton. I got my start in PR there.

In the 1980s, it expanded into serving corporate accounts. Rogers and Cowan was sold in 1991 and Cowan left the business the following year.

After a two year hiatus, he opened a new firm, Cowan and Associates.   Warren passed away at the age of 81 in 2008. This episode is dedicated to his memory.

SHOW NOTES:

04:16 – Warren Cowan reveals what it is like to be on the red carpet at the Academy Awards.

06:06 – Cowan shares the challenges of moving a major celebrity down the red carpet and what role the publicity escort plays there.

08:51 – Cowan on why a major star would not want to walk down the red carpet and what makes them actually put forth the effort to go.

09:52 – Cowan reveals how he successfully handles stars if they do not want to make the public appearance of walking down the red carpet.

11:14 – Cowan discusses when people start arriving at the red carpet and when people should arrive to get an interview from the press.

12:33 – Cowan shares the origins of the red carpet and the movie premier event.

15:07 – Cowan describes the amount of demands for a major star’s time and the difficulty a personality PR agent has with managing all the media requests.

18:51 – End.

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