Joe Hyams, an influential studio publicity executive who managed film campaigns for such luminaries as Clint Eastwood, Barbra Streisand, John Wayne and Federico Fellini, died Wednesday in Los Angeles at age 90.
Hyams’ death was confirmed by a family spokesperson. No cause was given.
Hyams spent more than four decades at Warner Bros., where he developed close personal and professional relationships with some of the biggest stars of the era. He worked with Eastwood on all of the actor’s films from 1978’s “Every Which Way but Loose” through 2003’s “Mystic River,” helping to steer the movies through film festivals, theatrical runs and awards seasons.
“Joe was an incredibly smart, intuitive and talented executive who played a crucial role in making my movies succeed,” Eastwood said in a statement. “More important, he was a great friend and I will miss him.”
Barry Meyer, former chairman of Warner Bros., acknowledged the key role Hyams had played in the studio. "Joe was an integral member of the Warner Bros. family,” he said in a statement. “His numerous contributions were uniquely creative. He was revered in his time and will be remembered by all who knew him.”
Born Sept. 21, 1926, on the Lower East Side of New York City, Hyams began his career as a reporter with the Daily Mirror in New York after serving in the Marines during World War II. After a stint as a unit publicist on classic films such as “On the Waterfront” and “From Here to Eternity,” he was hired by Jack Warner in 1960 as the studio’s national advertising and publicity director.
Over the decades that followed, Hyams worked on such Warner Bros. films as “East of Eden,” “Bonnie and Clyde,” “Blazing Saddles,” “The Exorcist,” “A Star Is Born,” “Unforgiven” and “Eyes Wide Shut.” He retired from the studio in 2005.
Outside of his work, Hyams also led a colorful life. He was a licensed pilot, scuba diver and fly fisherman and traveled extensively.
Hyams is survived by his wife, Dolores; his children, Nina, Melissa and Robert; and two grandchildren, Michael Jaeggli and Sam Carpenter.