Born and raised in New York City, Samuel J. Friedman was a pioneer in theatrical publicity. Legendary for his stunts, personality, and press agency, Mr. Friedman began his career in 1937 at The Shubert Organization on the Cole Porter musical “ You’ll Never Know,” starring Clifton Webb, Libby Holman and Lupe Velez. In the early 1950’s, he opened National Press Agents with partner Bill Doll and at various times served as Vice President of Arthur P. Jacobs Co., Inc. and a Vice President of publicity for United Artists Motion Picture and Billy Rose Enterprises. He was a lifetime member and officer of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers.
Along the way he worked with such legendary performers as Gypsy Rose Lee (Star and Garter, 1942), Montgomery Clift (The Searching Wing, 1944), Billy Rose (Diamond Horseshoe, 1946), Josephine Baker (Paris Company, 1952), Lotte Lenya (The Threepenny Opera, 1954), Jerry Orbach (The Threepenny Opera, 1955), Shirley Booth (Miss Isobel, 1957), Peter Ustinov (Romanoff and Juliet, 1957), Jackie Gleason (Take Me Along, 1959), Roddy McDowall (Compulsion, 1959), Jon Voight (That Summer, That Fall, 1967), Tammy Grimes (The Only Game in Town, 1968), Claire Bloom (Hedda Gabler, 1971), Victor Borge and Marcel Marceau.
Friedman handled the publicity for the national tour of “What a Life” in 1939, following its world premiere at the Biltmore in 1938. In addition, he did the publicity for the original productions of such Broadway and Off-Broadway classics as “Finian’s Rainbow” (1947), “Waiting for Godot” (with an all black cast in 1957), “A Moon for the Misbegotten” (1957), “Les Ballets Africains” (1959), Genet’s “The Blacks” (1961), “Golden Boy” (1964), “The Subject was Roses” (1965), “Oh! Calcutta!” (1969), “The Rothschilds” (1970) and “The Me Nobody Knows” (1970).
While his one true love was theatre, Friedman also promoted such notable films as “Moulin Rouge,” “The Ten Commandments,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai” and “West Side Story”; Sol Hurok’s “Holiday on Ice,” and the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus.