Arthur Sando, a veteran PR executive who worked for such notable figures as Ted Turner and Larry Flynt, died Sept. 3 of a heart attack in Washington, D.C. He was 71.
Sando headed Sando Communications in recent years, based in his hometown of Washington, D.C. Starting in 2012, he served for several years as spokesman for Hustler publisher Larry Flynt’s Flynt Management Group.
In the 1980s, Sando was a top PR executive at Turner Broadcasting, working frequently with the company founder who was known for shooting from the lip, creating controversies that Sando would quietly clean up. As VP of communications and marketing, he built the company’s PR department from a few people in Atlanta to offices around the world. He was also integral in the launch of Turner’s Goodwill Games initiative designed to help bridge the Cold War gap between the U.S. and then Soviet Union.
From 1995 to 1998 Sando was head of corporate communications for King World Productions, where he oversaw PR for the syndication powerhouse in its prime. He also served in corporate communications for satellite provider Comsat Corp., Winstar Communications and ION TV.
Sando was remembered by friends and colleagues for his dry sense of humor, his steadiness in times of crisis and his devotion to his family and his two grandchildren.
“Arthur was the consummate professional and the least sensationalistic person I knew,” said Jeffrey Grimshaw, who worked for Sando at Turner and Comsat. “In a craft that is prone to exaggeration, he had that steady had on the tiller of truth.”
Last year, Sando was inducted as part of the 2018 class of Multichannel News’ Cable TV Pioneers. He was a past board member of Joe Torre’s Safe at Home Foundation. In 1987, he earned the President’s Award from the National Cable & Telecommunications Association in recognition of his role as a pioneer at Turner Broadcasting and CNN.
“Arthur was more than a friend; he was a caring, loving extension of our family,” said Ali and Joe Torre in a statement. “He had a wonderful zest for life, and his biggest passion was his family. We are heartbroken over Arthur’s passing.”
The son of Holocaust survivors, Sando earned a BA in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He began his career as an on-air news reporter at WFIL-AM Philadelphia. He moved to Syracuse, N.Y., as a television reporter at NBC affiliate WSYR. He also served as press secretary to U.S. Rep. James Hanley (N.Y.) and headed corporate affairs for Comsat Corporation and Winstar Communications.
Sando’s survivors include two children, Jackie and Michael, and two grandchildren.
The family requests that donations be made in Sando’s name to the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation. A memorial service will be held at noon ET on Sept. 10 at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.