James Fitzgerald, Hollywood Publicist and Manager, Dies at 91

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James Fitzgerald, a Hollywood publicist and manager who represented his wives Jane Powell and Erin O’Brien as well as Rock Hudson, Louella Parsons, Chuck Connors and Howard Keel, has died. He was 91.

Fitzgerald died Sunday of natural causes at an assisted living facility in Canoga Park, his son Greg Fitzgerald told The Hollywood Reporter.

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Fitzgerald also assisted the careers of John Raitt, Engelbert Humperdinck, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Jimmy Van Heusen and The Burgundy Street Singers, among others. And when he was promoting the Sammy Cahn song “High Hopes” — a big hit for Frank Sinatra that won an Oscar in 1960 — he got to meet Eleanor Roosevelt, who performed the lyrics during an interview with him, as she did here.

Fitzgerald was married to singer-actress O’Brien (77 Sunset Strip, Onionhead) from 1951 until their 1963 divorce and to Seven Brides for Seven Brothers standout Powell from 1965 until their 1975 divorce (he was the third of her five husbands).

James Donald Fitzgerald was born on Oct. 15, 1931, in Redwood City, California.

After he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Long Beach, California, Sammy Davis Jr. helped him land a job in the mailroom at Rogers & Cowan, and he would open his own company, James Fitzgerald Enterprises Inc., on Sunset Boulevard.

Through his relationship with Davis, he became a press agent on Ocean’s Eleven (1960), starring Davis and his fellow Rat Pack members Sinatra, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. He also made it a specialty to handle PR for songs that were in contention at the Academy Awards, like “High Hopes,” over the years.

Survivors include his wife, Laurie (they were married for 34 years and together for 43); sons Greg, James and Anthony; sisters Marion and Barbara; grandson Trevor; great-granddaughter Haley; and niece Judy.

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