Daniel J. Edelman, founder of the huge public relations that bears his name, has died. He was 92.
Edelman, who retired in 1996, passed away from heart failure on Tuesday morning, according to the Chicago Tribune.
A graduate of Columbia College and the Columbia Journalism School, Edelman was a newspaper editor and reporter before being drafted during World War II. He worked in the intelligence division, analyzing German propaganda for the Allies, Ad Week reports.
Edelman worked for as a publicist for Toni, a hair care company now a division of Gillette, when he moved to Chicago and started his own firm in 1952, Ad Week reports. His initial client list included such fledgling companies as Sarah Lee and KFC.
Edelman also contributed to the popularization of celebrity endorsements to sell products and came up with the Butterball Turkey Talk Line in 1981.
The Edelman agency has 66 office offices and 4,500 employees around the world, as well as affiliates in more than 30 cities. Edelman’s son, Richard Edelman, has served as the company’s new president and CEO since his father retired in 1996.
The company honored its founder with a picture on the front page of its website, along with a brief statement that read: “There will never be another Dan Edelman — indomitable, ever modest, always resilient, ready for the next challenge. His story inspires us all.”
Anne Cohen is the Forward’s deputy digital media editor. When she’s not looking for the secret Jewish history of Voodoo in New Orleans, or making lists about Ruth Bader Ginsburg, she writes for The Assimilator. She graduated from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism with an M.S. magazine concentration in 2012.