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Robert Werden, Longtime Oscars Publicist, Dies at 94

AMPAS member also worked as a unit publicist on films such as “The Deer Hunter,” “Pennies From Heaven” and “Superman”

Robert Werden, a film industry publicist for over 35 years and who worked as a publicist for the Academy Awards for 18 years, died Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 94.

Werden handled the publicity for the Oscars between 1975 and 1993, and also served as a unit publicist on 40 movies, including some Oscar winners such as “The Deer Hunter,” “Pennies From Heaven,” “Airport” and the original “Superman.”

For over a decade, Werden served on both the Academy’s Foreign Language Film Committee and the Documentary Film Committee, as well served a judge for the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowships and the Academy Student Film Awards. He had been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1983.

Werden also served as treasurer of the Publicists Guild and was one of the founders of the Entertainment Publicists Professional Society (EPPS).

Werden was born in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up on the East Coast. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and fought in the Battle of Leyte Gulf. He earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degree in public relations at Boston University’s School of Public Communication.

Prior to joining the film business, Werden was recruited by Grant Advertising and managed key accounts, including Dodge, Dr. Pepper, FTD and the Texas Democratic Party. Werden began handling publicity for films and television while at U.S. Borax, where he worked on the series “Death Valley Days.”

Werden’s death was preceded by his wife Rita, and he is survived by his daughter, Franchesca, her spouse, Elizabeth Versace, and step-son, David Hakim.