Howard Bragman, entertainment PR guru who worked with many notable LGBTQ celebrities and athletes as they journeyed through the coming out process, has died at the age of 66 after battling Leukemia.
Howard Bragman, Public Relations Veteran and Founder of BNC and Fifteen Minutes PR, Dies at 66 https://t.co/45tzuviuSt
— Variety (@Variety) February 12, 2023
His clients have included Cameron Diaz, Paula Abdul, Stevie Wonder, Sharon Osbourne, Monica Lewinsky, Joe Manganiello, Anna Kendrick, Terrence Howard, Ricki Lake and Melissa Rivers, among many others.
Later in his career, he segued into crisis management and was often featured as an expert on television, appearing as a news consultant for ABC News, as well as an on-air expert for programs like “Good Morning America,” “Today” and “Larry King Live.”
As an openly gay executive and staunch advocate of LGBTQ causes, he also advised a number of celebrities, including actor Meredith Baxter, basketball player Sheryl Swoopes and country singer Chely Wright, on coming out.
Bragman also contributed a $1 million endowment in 2021 to establish the “Howard Bragman Coming Out Fund” on the facilities of the University of Michigan, which include the Spectrum Center, a LGBTQIA+ support center, which was formed in 1970.
In announcing the fund, he said at the time:
“As a fat, Jewish, gay kid in Flint, Michigan, I always felt like a Martian. … This campus allows you to be yourself. It allows you to spread your wings in the way you want to spread your wings.”
“I tell people, ‘Stay strong, even when it hurts.’ And, I promise, it hurts sometimes. But, there are places that will help you ease the pain sometimes. That’s what the Spectrum Center did. That’s what Michigan did.”
“I don’t care how liberal the school is. I don’t care how accepting and loving your parents are. I don’t care how ‘woke’ the times are. Coming out is this most personal of journeys, and it’s a challenging journey.”
“It’s so important for students to know they are not alone and that the Spectrum Center is there for them. … It was founded only two years after Stonewall, which we look at as the birth of the modern LGBTQIA+ rights movement. So the center is not a flash in the pan.”
“I want to assure that other people get that same access that I had; life-changing, life-saving access.”
Read more at Variety.
My husband, also a rock star publicist, knew Howard for over 30 years. He posted this on Facebook:
GLAAD’s President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis today responded to the news of Bragman’s passing:
Howard Bragman was an industry leader who masterfully used the power of the press to create positive change and visibility for LGBTQ people.
Throughout his long career, he worked with many LGBTQ notables to ensure their coming out stories were treated with dignity and created impact for the entire community.
His own visibility as an out executive, paired with a trademark humor and bold approach to public relations, made unforgettable marks on media, entertainment, and public relations industries.
.@HowardBragman: Those of us who knew you will never forget your zest for life. Thank you for the laughs and memories. Godspeed, my friend. 💙 pic.twitter.com/f5w4SDMgIp
— Gio Benitez (@GioBenitez) February 12, 2023
What a sad loss. Howard was so kind and charming with natural swagger. He shone so bright as a voice and resource for LGBTQ people and should be remembered as being dynamic and wonderful.We will miss you! #RIPHowardBragman PR And Crisis Expert Was 66 https://t.co/qJROtg04ND
— Daniel Franzese (@WhatsupDanny) February 12, 2023
I’m heartbroken to learn that @HowardBragman, my friend & a PR legend, has died suddenly of cancer.
Howard oversaw crisis PR for scores of celebs & did extraordinary work for the LGBTQ community.
He supported me for years as a mentor, offering kindness, wisdom, & humor. RIP pic.twitter.com/TJ2PlDdA3u
— Elex Michaelson (@Elex_Michaelson) February 12, 2023