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In Memoriam: Leo Stern

With great sadness, we inform you that longtime member and press agent, Leo Stern passed away in April at the age of 94.

Leo worked with such legendary press agents Merle Debuskey and David Powers and became a Broadway fixture himself. Stern had a long list of Broadway productions to his credit, including numerous shows at Circle In The Square. Among the many productions for which he was the press agent are: FENCES with James Earl Jones and Mary Alice; the first revival of SWEENEY TODD; BALLROOM starring Dorothy Loudon and Vincent Gardenia; the original 42ND STREET starring Jerry Orbach and Tammy Grimes; MAJOR BARBARA; FOXFIRE, starring Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy; WOMAN OF THE YEAR with Lauren Bacall and Harry Guardino; THE ACT starring Liza Minnelli; the 1985 revival of THE ICEMAN COMETH with Jason Robert; MORNING BECOMES ELECTRA with Colleen Dewhurst; PLAY IT AGAIN SAM with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton; the original JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR; and THE GOLDEN AGE with Stockard Channing.

Leo Stern was born in Poland and came to the United States when he was two years old. His family settled on the Lower East Side and he remained a lifelong New Yorker. During World War II he joined the Army and served in Japan, where he was charged with writing notices and other items for the troops. Upon return to the States, and after working at other jobs, Leo happened upon an old buddy who was leaving one job for another and suggested Leo apply for his position at a press office. Thus began Leo’s career as a press agent. Leo joined ATPAM in February 1960, the same month in which he celebrated his birthday.

Among his colleagues, he was known for his dry sense of humor and would often - when the pressures of deadlines set in - remind the younger press agents (as well as some of the more seasoned veterans) “no one was harmed in the making of this show,” thus eliciting some laughs and renewing focus for the task at hand. When he wasn’t working on a show, Leo would also indulge in his love of travel and every year would visit Europe. A born raconteur, Stern would often entertain family and friends of his time as a press agent and would always mention that Pearl Bailey was among his favorite stars to have worked with.

Leo is survived by his younger sister (92), several nephews and their families as well his many friends. He was predeceased by his long-time partner, Karel Williams.

May his memory be a blessing.

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