It is with great sadness that we inform you of the passing of retired member Terry Lilly. Terry was a Press Agent on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and across the country, who came into membership in September of 1977. He passed away peacefully at home on November 24, 2021 after a long illness, surrounded by loved ones.
Born in Ashtabula Ohio, Terry moved to NY and graduated from Brooklyn College. A devoted lover of theater and film, he began his career as a press agent first with Frank Goodman, then Les Schecter & Barbara Schwei, before joining Henry Luhrman, when Henry opened his own office to take over publicity for Irene starring Debbie Reynolds. He remained at Henry’s side until his death in 1988, handling many top shows including the long running hit Sugar Babies (which Terry credited for turning his hair grey), as well as Good News, You Can't Take It With You, I Love My Wife, Gorey Stories, Greater Tuna, Lolita (by Edward Albee), A Meeting By the River (by Christopher Isherwood), Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, Knock Knock, Spookhouse (by Harvey Fierstein), Stardust, Late Nite Comic, Mayor the Musical, The Flying Karamazov Brothers, and Romance/Romance, among many others. Terry was a leading press agent for NYC’s then vibrant club & cabaret scene (Michael’s Pub, Ballroom, Rainbow & Stars, Roseland, Freddy’s, Downey’s, Carnegie Tavern, to name a few) working with some of the greatest names in pop music, jazz, R&B, comedy, and Broadway, including Sid Caesar & Imogene Coca (Together Again! The 40th Anniversary of “Your Show of Shows”), LaVern Baker, Kaye Ballard, Ruth Brown, Nell Carter, Petula Clark, Rosemary Clooney, Dorothy Collins, Johnny Crawford (of TV’s “The Rifleman”), Vic Damone, Stan Freeman (as Oscar Levant), Ellen Greene, Hildegarde, Rupert Holmes, Grace Jones (New Year’s Eve at Roseland!), Jack Jones, Peggy Lee, Marilyn Maye, Maureen McGovern, Lonette McKee, Mark Murphy, Anita O’Day, Helen Reddy, Joan Rivers, Mickey Rooney, Helen Schneider, George Shearing, Frank Stallone, Sylvia Syms, Mel Tormé, Margaret Whiting, Joe Williams, and Julie Wilson, among many others. His personal clients included artist Hilary Knight (Eloise and numerous legendary show posters) and the Loesser family (Jo Sullivan Loesser, Emily and Hannah Loesser) to whom he was devoted for many years.
After Henry Luhrman’s death, Terry worked with David Gersten, David Rothenberg and Bill Evans on such shows as Waiting in the Wings, 45 Seconds from Broadway, Sexaholix, Proposals, Stanley, Sally Marr... and Her Escorts, Buttons on Broadway, Master Class, until his retirement.
Terry leaves behind many close friends and family, as well as a legacy of nurturing the next generation of press agents.
May his memory be a blessing.