AP — Howard Bragman, a beloved Hollywood publicist who specialized in crisis relationships and whose clients included Monica Lewinsky, Cameron Diaz, Ricki Lake, Sharon Osbourne and Chaz Bono, has died after a short battle with leukemia. He was 66 years old.
He died Saturday night in Los Angeles, his family announced Sunday. Bragman was diagnosed with leukemia just 10 days ago and was promptly hospitalized.
Hailing from Flint, Michigan, where he said he always felt like a Martian as “fat, Jewish, gay,” Bragman got his start in public relations in Chicago, working with clients like Anheuser-Busch. Eventually, he made his way to Los Angeles and founded his own company, Bragman Nyman Cafarelli (BNC), in 1989. He became known as a go-to for helping celebrities come out publicly, including the ‘Family Ties’ star. ” Meredith Baxter, country singer Chely Wright, basketball players John Amaechi and Sheryl Swoopes and footballer Michael Sam.
“Howard Bragman was an industry leader who masterfully used the power of the press to create positive change and visibility for LGBTQ people,” GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis said in a statement. “Throughout his long career, he has worked with many LGBTQ notables to ensure their coming-out stories are treated with dignity and impact the broader community. His own visibility as a executive, coupled with a signature humor and bold approach to public relations, made unforgettable marks.
Following the acquisition of BNC, he founded the company Fifteen Minutes in 2005 and later LaBrea Media.
He wrote an advice book titled “Where’s My Fifteen Minutes,” weaving amusing anecdotes from bygone Hollywood and relating them to the landscape of celebrities, media and audiences today. He said “not all press is good press” and that whoever said it was “an idiot”.
In addition to being an oft-cited expert on celebrity meltdowns, Bragman has occasionally written articles himself, in publications from Playboy to the Los Angeles Times, and even appeared on various reality shows, including “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” and as a guest judge on the first season of “RuPaul’s Drag Race”.
Bragman’s influence on the industry was considerable. He was an adjunct professor of public relations at the University of Southern California, developed a media training manual for young actors in Nickelodeon TV shows and movies, and media trained hundreds of outside professionals. of Hollywood, from elected officials and lawyers to CEOs. He was also a passionate activist for LGBTQ rights and Jewish causes.
In 2021, he donated $1 million to establish the Howard Bragman Coming Out Fund at the University of Michigan, his alma mater, on the 50th anniversary of the school’s Spectrum Center, a support resource LGBTQ.
“I want to make sure other people get the same access as me; life-changing, life-saving access,” he told the school newspaper at the time. “I don’t care about the liberality of the school. I don’t care how you accept and love your parents. I don’t care how “woke” times are. Coming out is the most personal journey, and it is a difficult journey.
Bragman is survived by her husband Mike Maimone, her brother Alan and her nephews and nieces. They requested that in lieu of flowers, mourners consider donating to the Coming Out Fund established in his name.