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Maury Foladare; Veteran Publicist to Stars

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Maury Foladare, veteran Hollywood publicist for such legends as Bing Crosby and Danny Thomas, has died. He was 86.

He died Saturday night at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills.

Beloved by news media as well as entertainers, Foladare was known as one Hollywood source who could be trusted.

“I never wrote a phony story in my life,” he told The Times a few years ago.

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Foladare met Crosby in 1930 when the singer was with the Rhythm Boys at the Cocoanut Grove, and worked for him until Crosby’s death in 1977. Foladare continued publicizing the annual Bing Crosby Golf Tournament.

Crosby “was a very nice man, but he didn’t like publicity,” Foladare once recalled. “Often, I’d set up an interview and then I’d find out Bing had gone out the back way and left us there.”

Foladare especially prized his more than four decades working for Thomas and his St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. When Thomas turned to producing television shows, Foladare was the publicist for such hits as “The Andy Griffith Show,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show” and “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.”

Other clients over the years included Gary Cooper, Mario Lanza, Louis Armstrong, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Morton Downey and Les Brown and His Band of Renown, as well as film studios.

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A native of Los Angeles, Foladare attended USC and worked briefly for the now-defunct Los Angeles Examiner. Seeking higher pay, he signed on as publicist for a group of theaters.

From that, Foladare landed the job of publicity director for the old Paramount Theater at 6th Street and Wilshire Boulevard in Downtown Los Angeles. His job included booking vaudeville acts to accompany films, and introduced him to several performers who became clients. At the peak of his career, Foladare oversaw a staff of 15 publicists in his Hollywood office.

Some of his efforts misfired. To publicize the 1933 film “King Kong,” he sent a man in an ape costume into a department store. One woman fainted and sued Foladare for $100,000.

Foladare founded the Masonic Press Club and served as its president. He also was on the board of Los Angeles County’s Department of Adoptions for many years.

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Survivors include his wife, Betty; his son and daughter, Robert and Maureen; four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.


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