Betty Shapian, 73; Veteran Publicist for Best-Selling Authors

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Betty Shapian, 73, a publicist who handled a number of best-selling authors during a 35-year career, died Monday of cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Born in Ridgefield, N.J., Shapian initially worked in the foreign department at Doubleday. She later moved into the publicity department.

In the late 1960s, she opened Doubleday’s West Coast office. A few years later, she started her own firm, Shapian & Associates, where she handled publicity for writers including William F. Buckley, Gore Vidal, Pauline Kael, Thor Heyerdahl and Sir Edmund Hillary.

She was a favorite of several writers; author Max Shulman named the heroine of his book “Anybody Got a Match?” Polly Shapian in her honor.


During the early years of her career, Shapian spent several months with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower working on his memoirs.