Larry Lowenstein
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News Obituary Article

Larry Lowenstein, press agent to stars, charities


Since he'd been in the business practically from the beginning, it was all right with Larry Lowenstein to call him a press agent.

That's what Elizabeth Taylor, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, Arthur Godfrey, Benny Goodman, Leon Uris and Dr. Joyce Brothers called him. He was the first press agent for Crest toothpaste and Zest soap, too.

He delighted in telling about the time Miss Taylor threw him out of her honeymoon suite or the time he served Roy Rogers bourbon in a teacup to preserve his public image.

"He was such a funny, fine person and so ethical in a business not known for ethics," said entertainment lawyer Darryl Cohen of Marietta, an officer in the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The memorial service for Kenneth Lawrence Lowenstein, 86, of Atlanta, who died of a heart attack Tuesday at St. Joseph's Hospital, is at 3 p.m. Oct. 15 at The Temple. The body was cremated. Cremation Society of the South, Marietta, is in charge of arrangements.

Name a professional organization, Mr. Lowenstein had been its president. Name a charity, he had served on its board. Name an award, it had been presented to him.

"I met him at so many functions. He seemed to be everywhere," said Dr. Betty Siegel of Marietta, president emeritus of Kennesaw State University. "He knew people who were interesting and exciting."

Mr. Lowenstein had worked in continuing education at KSU since 1992 and handled special projects for Dr. Siegel during her tenure. He is credited with the success of KSU's "Meet the President" television show, its University Press and its program to keep people active in retirement.

That was after he left New York for Atlanta in 1974 and was the information officer for Atlanta Public Schools, executive director of the Atlanta Partnership of Business and Education and promoted radio and television stations here.

"He must have been actively retired 15 times," Dr. Siegel said. "He was a man who had the capacity to live life well."

"He was such a cheerleader for all of us. He loved the university," said Barbara Calhoun of Kennesaw, KSU's dean of continuing education. "Larry was revered. He was much, much a visionary. He gave us greater exposure to the community."

At KSU, he taught a popular class on "Write a Book and Get It Published" and gave talks on "Famous People Who Knew Me," the title of his book, she said.

Mr. Lowenstein created WXIA's ongoing Community Service Awards program. He is responsible for televising Atlanta's Emmy awards, Mr. Cohen said. As producer of the first show, he lined up Mayor Maynard Jackson and comedian Phyllis Diller as emcees.

"He brought humor and ethics to everything he did," Mr. Cohen said. "He was so self-effacing. When he told a story, it was never, 'I did this.' He was there and he just related what happened."

He dominated a weekend Algonquin Round Table-style gathering at Goldberg's Bagel Co.& Deli on West Paces Ferry Road, Dr. Siegel said.

"It was witty sayings and friendship and great laughter, and he was at the center of it," she said.

There he would tell of the night he wound up in Elizabeth Taylor's bedroom, a story he shared with Atlanta Journal-Constitution readers in a 1999 article.

Miss Taylor had just married Eddie Fisher, arrived at New York's Waldorf-Astoria hotel and was dismayed to find twin beds in their suite.

Mr. Lowenstein, whose public relations firm represented the two stars, quickly solved the honeymoon problem.

"So I pushed the beds together and made up the bed," he said. "When I was done, I just stood there and she said goodnight. But I said, 'I'm not leaving now; I'm going to watch!' "

Wish not granted. End of story.

Survivors include his wife, Joyce Lowenstein; two daughters, Barbara Dubois of Greenwich, Conn., and Caryl Komornik of Stamford, Conn.; two stepdaughters, Penny Siskin of Great Neck, N.Y., and Patricia Arnow of Jerusalem; a sister, Lorraine Broxmeyer of Great Neck; eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

© 2006 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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Published in Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Oct. 6, 2006.