Longtime celebrity publicist
Lois Smith, 85, a longtime New York City publicist who worked with celebrities including Marilyn Monroe, Robert Redford and Martin Scorsese, died Sunday from a brain hemorrhage after taking a fall during a trip to Maine with her husband.
Her death was confirmed by Cindi Berger, chairwoman and chief executive of PMK*BNC. Smith was one of the founders of the publicity firm that eventually merged with other firms to become PMK*BNC.
Berger described Smith as a "trailblazer" in the publicity field "who loved her clients and guided them with strong and steady hands."
Her list of clients during her decades in the business also included Meryl Streep, Warren Beatty and Whitney Houston. She retired in 2001.
In a 2010 interview for the Boston University publication BU Today, Smith discussed how public relations had changed since she got her start in the 1960s.
"I'm so glad I'm not doing publicity now," she said. "Between celebrity magazines and Web sites, there's so much out there to be filled up, so much information that has to be put out there simply because those publications exist. First of all, whatever you're pushing, it becomes a story 30 seconds after you put it out there. I don't care about hearing so much information minute by minute. People are desperate to fill the space they've got; they'll print anything, go with anything, pursue rumors, and even create them. It's not what I call publicity."
Pioneer of free jazz in Europe
John Tchicai, 76, a Danish saxophonist and pioneer of free jazz in Europe, died Monday at a Copenhagen hospital, according to his former wife, Margriet Naber. Tchicai had been in a coma since suffering a brain hemorrhage in June.
Born to a Danish mother and a Congolese father in Denmark, Tchicai moved to New York in 1963 and co-founded the New York Contemporary Five with Archie Shepp. He later became a leading figure of the jazz avant-garde movement in Europe and played with John Coltrane, Milford Graves, Carla Bley and Steve Swallow.
Tchicai eventually settled in southern France.
Times staff and wire reports