This town will miss Warren Cowan, who died Wednesday night at 87 (click here for Variety's obit). I certainly will.
Cowan was such a class act, and so good at what he did. Successful as he was, he never stopped laboring at the day to day grind of being a publicist. He'd drop everything to help a journalist set up an interview or track someone down or confirm a detail. I spoke to him last a few weeks ago when I was trying to find out if there were any writers or producers still with us who worked on Milton Berle's "Texaco Star Theater." (The 60th anni of the show that sold a million television sets is approaching next month.) Cowan, of course, represented Berle for many years.
When I went to the Friars Club tribute to Berle a few months after the comedian's death, Cowan ushered me around the room, introducing me to people I never would've recognized otherwise, so that I had no trouble getting all the quotes and color I needed. He did that many times for me (and a few million other reporters) at many events -- always with a big broad smile. (I also never forgot that he was friendly and available to me even way back in my salad days as a UPI stringer. Warren Cowan and Associates was one of the first names and numbers I put in my Rolodex.)
Cowan always pitched stories and spoke of his clients with a respectful reverence that was not affected, and never felt like hype. "I'd appreciate it if you'd consider this," he'd say when pitching something that wasn't an obvious home-run news or feature story.
Cowan clearly loved his work, and he loved this business. Showbiz never had a better press agent.