Margaret Gardner, 88; Hollywood public relations executive

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Margaret Gardner, 88, a leading figure in public relations during Hollywood’s Golden Age, died of cancer Thursday at her home in Manhattan, according to longtime friend and associate publicist Warren Cowan.

A native of Marinette, Wis., Gardner followed her brother, producer Arthur Gardner, to Hollywood after high school. A graduate of UCLA, she started her professional career as a magazine writer and went into public relations, working with stars including Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Kirk Douglas, Shirley MacLaine, Melina Mercouri and Elizabeth Taylor.

She became vice president of international affairs for Rogers & Cowan and spent 30 years living in Paris and London as head of the firm’s international operations.