Irving Fein, 101, a veteran Hollywood studio publicist who had a 28-year association with Jack Benny, died Friday of congestive heart failure at his home in West Hollywood, family friend Larry Solters said.
In 1947, Fein became the popular radio comedian's publicity and advertising director. Later he served as Benny's executive producer and personal manager.
One of Fein's successful ideas was to promote Benny's new TV program on CBS in 1950 via a full-page Macy's ad in New York newspapers: a photo of the famously "cheap" comedian shopping at the department store, with the headline: "MORE PROOF THAT MACY'S IS VERY KIND TO THE POCKETBOOK. JACK BENNY SHOPS HERE!"
Then, when a new Macy's executive turned down Fein's idea of running another full-page Benny ad the next year, Fein simply went across the street to the competition, which jumped at the opportunity with its own newspaper ad: "JACK'S NO DUMB BUNNY. HE SHOPS AT GIMBELS."
Fein later helped revitalize the flagging career of George Burns. "I've been lucky," Fein said in 1988. "I've been able to work with the best of them."
LOS ANGELES TIMES