Robert “Bob” Ullman, a longtime Broadway and Off Broadway press agent whose career spanned Ethel Merman, A Chorus Line, Curse of the Starving Class and many others, died of cardiac arrest on July 31 in Bayshore, Long Island, New York. He was 97.
His death was announced by longtime friend (and former Broadway press agent) Rev. Joshua Ellis.
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Among the many Broadway productions on which Ullman worked were Ethel Merman and Mary Martin: Together on Broadway, A Chorus Line (from workshop to Public Theater to Broadway), Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in The Visit, Lauren Bacall in Cactus Flower, The Dining Room, Driving Miss Daisy, Sunday in the Park with George, and over 150 additional Broadway and off-Broadway plays and musicals.
Actors and theater greats with whom Ullman worked include Tallulah Bankhead, Luise Rainer, James Dean, Dame Edith Evans, Geraldine Page, Phil Silvers, Bert Lahr, Rosemary Harris, James Earl Jones, Sam Waterston, Colleen Dewhurst, Ossie Davis, Hildegarde, Meryl Streep, Sir John Gielgud, Sir Ralph Richardson, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, Jack Lemmon, Louis Jourdan, Patti LuPone, Morgan Freeman, Eartha Kitt, Maggie Smith, Cab Calloway, Christopher Plummer, Tommy Steele, Kim Hunter, Constance Bennett, Beatrice Lillie, Peter Ustinov, Helen Hayes, Burl Ives, Margaret Rutherford, Maureen Stapleton, Mary Tyler Moore, Zero Mostel, Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Sanford Meisner, Leontyne Price, William Warfield, Arlene Francis, Bobby Short, Mabel Mercer, Dame Sybil Thorndike, and Estelle Parsons.
In the 1970s Ullman was the in-house press agent for Joseph Papp’s Public Theater and Playwrights Horizons. His Public productions included Jason Miller’s That Championship Season, for colored Girls who have considered suicide…, Miss Margarida’s Way, I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road, Curse of the Starving Class and, in Central Park’s Delacorte, the all-star revival of The Pirates of Penzance.
His Playwrights Horizons roster included March of the Falsettos, Sister Mary Ignatius Explains it All for You/The Actor’s Nightmare, and Isn’t It Romantic?, among many others.
The Shirley Herz and Bob Ullman Lobby of the Manhattan Theatre Club’s Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on Broadway is named for the two press agents.
Along with his husband Milton “Mike” Freeman, Ullman later in life ran two antiques shops in Bridgehampton and Water Mill, Long Island. Freeman, who went on his first date with Ullman in 1952 (to the Broadway revue New Faces of 1952) died in 2015. The couple were married in 2012.
Ullman is survived by two nieces, two nephews and three cousins. A celebration will be held in the fall, with details to be announced. Contributions may be sent to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.