Veteran Publicist/Manager Joe Sutton Dies at 83; Known as “The Heart of Hollywood”


Edited by: JV Staff

Veteran Hollywood publicist Joe Sutton, 83, died of health complications on July 16 in hospice care at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, his son Michael announced last Friday, according to an MSN report.

Sutton was born in 1937 in Brooklyn, New York, and moved with his family to Los Angles in 1940, according to   Sutton began his career in PR in 1960 as an office boy at Rogers & Cowan before the firm made him a publicist. From there, be broke out on his own in 1962 with business partner Mickey Freeman, forming Freeman & Sutton Public Relations, as was reported by MSN.

Their early clients included Bill Cosby, The Doors, The Smothers Brothers, The Beach Boys, David Dortort and his famed series Bonanza and the High Chaparral, Chuck Barris and his legendary Dating Game, James Caan, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Bob Denver of Gilligan’s Island, Allen Sherman, and Jill St. John, as was reported by

Sutton established his own company in 1969 and 1998 he became the host of the radio show “Talking With Joe,” which first debuted on the Los Angeles radio station KYPA-AM and eventually moved to the CBS-owned KLSX under a new name “The Heart of Hollywood with Joe Sutton,” according to the report.

“He loved deeply and left it all on the field!! He was known as “The Heart of Hollywood” for a reason,” said Sutton’s son Michael Sutton on July 18.

With his own personal management company, Sutton guided the careers of Neil Diamond, Ricky Nelson, Lou Rawls, O.C. Smith and David Axelrod. In 1972, he was hired by Lew Wasserman, Ned Tanen and Mike Maitland at MCA to the position of Executive Vice-President of their music division, and was COO of their Decca, Kapp, and Uni labels, according to the MSN report.

MSN reported that after a successful nine-year run in the music business, Sutton and Freeman reestablished their PR firm. In its second act, Freeman and Sutton Public Relations represented such clients as Drew Barrymore, Jerry Seinfeld, Burt Reynolds, Patty Duke, Martin Lawrence, Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks, The Oprah Winfrey Show and The American Film Institute.

Sutton’s book “The Heart of Hollywood: From Hollywood to Hell and Back” was published in 2003, according to the report. Once he began to write the book, he had since become passionate about telling the stories of the veterans who live in the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s retirement community. He also hosted MPTF “Behind the Silver Screen,” which has collected conversations with more than 250 residents in MPTF and their stories in the entertainment industry, as was reported by

Sutton is survived by his sons Michael and Robby, partner Susan Shore, sisters Leona and Joyce and a brother named Victor.

Sutton’s family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in his memory to the Motion Picture & Television Fund and/or Channel 22. (MSN &



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