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Joe Hyams, Warner Bros. Publicity Executive, Dead At 90

Joe Hyams, longtime Hollywood publicist and former Warner Bros. publicity executive, died Wednesday, May 31 in Los Angeles (via Deadline). He was 90. 

Born on New York City's Lower East Side, Hyams was a military man before he dove into the entertainment industry. He served in the United States Marines during World War II, then settled back down in the Big Apple to work as a reporter for the Daily Mirror. Hyams then served as a unit publicist at Columbia Pictures, where he worked on campaigns for From Here to Eternity and On the Waterfront

Hyams briefly relocated to Los Angeles, and he found employment at Burt Lancaster's Hecht-Hill-Lancaster Productions. Shortly after, he returned to New York and worked on Bus Stop with Marilyn Monroe. 

In 1960, he landed a job at Warner Bros. Hyams spent over 40 years with the studio, working his way up to become the executive vice president of special projects. During his time at Warner Bros., Hyams had a hand in films like Bonnie and Clyde, East of Eden, Blazing Saddles, The Exorcist, My Fair Lady, A Star is Born, Woodstock, Chariots of Fire, and JFK

Hyams worked closely with Clint Eastwood on all his films and accompanying press junkets. From 1971's Any Which Way But Loose to 2004's Mystic River, Hyams helped Eastwood navigate his works through festivals, premieres, and awards campaigns and ceremonies. Eastwood gave a statement remembering Hyams: "Joe was an incredibly smart, intuitive and talented executive who played a crucial role in making my movies succeed.  More important, he was a great friend and I will miss him."

Hyams established personal relationships with stars like James Dean, Burt Lancaster, Hillary Swank, and Morgan Freeman. His industry insight and warm personality made him a venerable mentor and advisor to numerous actors over several decades. 

In light of Hyams' death, former Warner Bros. chairman Robert Daly honored his achievements: "To me, he was the dean of what he did. Joe definitely marched to his own drum, but he was also a terrific company man. When he was into a movie, he was working with the filmmakers all the way through."

One-time Lionsgate Motion Picture Group Co-Chairman Rob Friedman called Hyams a "mentor and lifelong friend," and a "lone gun" who was "always out front with a film, seeing it through all aspects of not just publicity, but [also] marketing."

Sidney Ganis, former President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, also remembered Hyams dearly. She stated: "He was sought out and beloved by artists and management alike. 'What does Joe think?' they would ask. Joe had a basic elegance that was completely natural, whether he was in a tuxedo at an opening, his deep tan glowing, or at a senior Warner Bros. management meeting in loafers, no socks, washed out t-shirt and worn jeans, advising and guiding us through the tricky problem of the day."

Hyams retired from Warner Bros. in 2005. Aside from working with Hollywood's finest, Hyams was also a fly fisherman, a licensed pilot, a scuba diver, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, and a yachtsman. 

Hyams is survived by his second wife, Dolores, and children Nina, Melissa, and Robert. His sisters Janet Katz and Barbara Doyle, brother Arthur Hyams, and grandchildren, Michael Jaeggli and Sam Carpenter, are also among the survivors.