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May 18, 2009

PR Icon Lee Solters Dies

Repped Sinatra, Streisand, More

PR Icon Lee Solters Dies

Repped Sinatra, Streisand, More

Longtime Hollywood publicist Lee Solters died May 18, 2009, at his West Hollywood home.

Solters, who represented such major stars as Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand and Michael Jackson, was 89.

Most recently, Solters was partners with publicist Jerry Digney. He began his career on Broadway, representing producer David Merrick and many of his shows, such as Gypsy and Hello, Dolly! —  as well as Broadway stars like Carol Channing and Ethel Merman. Over his 70-year career, he also represented Cary Grant, Mae West, Dolly Parton, Whitney Houston, Paul McCartney and Wings, and many others.

Solters also represented over 300 plays and musicals, including Broadway productions of The King & I, Guys and Dolls and works by Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller.

Solters was born on June 23, 1919, to Russian immigrants who worked as a tenement janitor and tailor. While a student at Eastern District High School in Williamsburg, New York, he covered high school basketball as a stringer for The New York Times.

While serving in the military, he wrote for Stars & Stripes, after which he launched a publicity firm with James J.O’Rourke. Hs clients included the renowned Carnegie Del; his first major show business client was TV talk-show host Robert Q. Lewis.

Solters was known for being able ameliorate the most fractious relationships between his clients and the press. In the late 1960s, he invited the top two columnists in each city to visit Frank Sinatra backstage before his shows in an effort to endear the singer to the media.

In 2001, Solters paired with Jerry Digney to form Solters & Digney Public Relations, where Solters oversaw client matters and acquired new accounts.

Solters is survived by a daughter, a son, two grandchildren and a great-grandson.

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