ROTH, Leon Jules Veteran motion picture producer, publicist and USC professor died on November 24 in Los Angeles at the age of 87. Born in Brooklyn on June 21, 1919, he was a graduate of City College of New York. His career began as a copywriter for the newspaper PM in the forties. In 1953 he moved his family to Los Angeles where he was vice president and head of publicity for United Artists in Hollywood. He later became vice president and head of publicity for the Mirisch Company. Among the notable publicity campaigns he coordinated and oversaw were "West Side Story," "Some Like It Hot," "The Apartment," and "Witness for the Prosecution." In 1964 he produced the critically acclaimed "The Luck of Ginger Coffey, starring Robert Shaw and he remained active in independent film production for many years. In 2003 he appeared in the well-received "Funny Old Guys," a documentary about Hollywood characters who lunch weekly. Leon embarked on a new and very rewarding career as an adjunct professor in the USC film School in the late eighties. His most popular classes were about the Hollywood Black List and the Making of a Film. Until his death, Leon remained active and engaged in his greatest loves; his family, politics, movies, teaching reading, and the Dodgers. Leon was married for 60 years to Miriam Wolf Roth who died in 2002. He will be missed everyday by his sons Eric, a screenwriter, Steve, a psychologist, daughter Nancy, a school- teacher, daughters-in-law Debra, and Liz, son-in-law Craig, his ten grandchildren and five great- grandchildren. A memorial service will be held December 16 at the home of his daughter.
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Published in the Los Angeles Times on Dec. 13, 2006