Peggy Phillips, a Pioneering Theatrical Press Agent of Broadway's Golden Age, Dead at 88

Obituaries   Peggy Phillips, a Pioneering Theatrical Press Agent of Broadway's Golden Age, Dead at 88
Peggy Phillips, a theatrical press agent during the golden age of Broadway, when she repped such works as Angel Street, South Pacific and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, died Dec. 27, according to colleagues in the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM).

Ms. Phillips was a member of ATPAM since 1950, the union reported. She was 88 and died in a care facility attached to her retirement community in Dana Point, CA. She died of complications from a stroke, according to friend Kevin O'Connor, a theatre manager and press agent whose mother was a press rep at the same time as Ms. Phillips — back when the ladies "were distinct minorities" in a male-dominated industry, he said.

In a long career, Ms. Phillips was actress, playwright, press rep, TV writer, memoirist and much more, living life so fully that up to her 82nd year she was still scuba diving. In one extraordinary story from her past, O'Connor recounted, she saved the life of Leni Riefenstahl (Hitler's filmmaker, director of 1935's "Triumph of the Will") while diving in the Middle East. She would later write a fictionalized account of it in the novel "Two Women Under Water." The writer would later point out to friends the story's ironic fact — Ms. Phillips was Jewish.

She had lived in California since the 1960s, but during her time in New York she was press agent for Broadway's The Lark, Witness for the Prosecution, Lunatics and Lovers, Me and Juliet, Barefoot in Athens, The King and I, Twentieth Century (1950), Legend of Sarah, Come Back, Little Sheba, The Cocktail Party, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Clutterbuck, South Pacific, The Silver Whistle, The Iceman Cometh (1946), O Mistress Mine, Uncle Harry, Cafe Crown and Angel Street.

According to her own bio, which accompanies a website about her self-published works (including the novel "Ascent to Hell" and the memoir "My Brother's Keeper"), she was born in New York City.

Ms. Phillips is survived by son Jon Bucci, daughter-in-law Tara and two grandchildren. In her varied career, Ms. Phillips was a press representative for The Theatre Guild and The Group Theatre, among other theatre companies. In the 1960s and '70s she was director of publicity for the Los Angeles Public Library, Center Theatre Group at the Los Angeles Music Center's Mark Taper Forum and Ahmanson Theatres, as well as director of publicity for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera.

A member of the Dramatists Guild and Writers Guild of America, her bio indicates she was a Broadway playwright (Playbill could not immediately identify the play she wrote), and a film and television writer, whose major credits include "Days of Our Lives," "Lassie," "National Velvet," "The Donna Reed Show," "My Three Sons," "My Sister Eileen," NBC Matinee Theatre, Kraft Theatre, "Adventures of Robin Hood" (Britain's Richard Greene version) and "You Are There."

A second published novel, "A Golden Sorrow" (2000), "exposes a highly charged confrontation between Napoleon's two sons, and the woman who loved them both," according to her website. Her third published novel, "Ascent to Hell" (2001), "is a contemporary action-adventure involving a group of climbers who undertake to probe the mysterious legend of a mountain range in today's explosive Middle East."

Her most recent published book, "My Brother's Keeper," is a memoir celebrating life in New York City from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Her trusted companion in recent years was a Jack Russell Terrier named Cheeky.

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