By John K. Adams
Edward Lozzi is one of the pre-eminent public relations professionals in Los Angeles. Known for his energetic support of Hollywood talent and for causes that appeal to his social justice instincts, anyone living in the area has seen the work of Edward Lozzi and Associates.
In addition to his public relations services, Lozzi a guest reporter for CNN and also specializes in crisis management and organizing press conferences and red carpet events.
You have had quite a life.
Actually, I’ve had two lives. One on the East Coast and then one here in L.A. I was born in New York. My grandfather, Raymond Rhodes, was prominent in the insurance business and politics. He created the Rhodes Scholarships you hear about and served the Eisenhower administration as the Asst. Treasury Secretary. When I was a kid I met President Eisenhower and Richard Nixon and played with Tricia Nixon and David Eisenhower at the White House.
Tell us about how you started out.
I needed to decide whether to join the family insurance business. Actuarial science was not my forte. I hated every second of it. But the money was very good. I once got a sweet deal on a ’58 Rolls Royce and my grandfather was upset I didn’t ‘buy American.’
In ’79 I drove to L.A. and a prep school buddy put me up on his family’s 90-foot yacht until I got my bearings.
Dow Jones Publishing hired me to edit and sell PR texts to colleges. My grandfather always said one learns ‘by doing’ so I got an internship at the top PR firm, Rogers and Cowan. Though overqualified with a degree from Harvard Business, they let me intern for experience while I worked nights for Dow Jones.
Lily Lipton hired me at Public Information Network. It was all about booking interviews, booking space, booking everything by phone. No one had computers. I also lectured at Loyola Marymount and UCLA on the art of PR. The publicist Julian Meyers was my idol. Also Frank Lieberman. I was trained by giants. The basic PR formula is: awareness equals opportunity equals financial success. Nowadays, it’s all social media. But without links to actual publications, it’s just fake news.
What is “fake royalty?”
My firm warns other PR companies not to allow false royalty. We won’t allow phonies pretending to be the Duke of Earl or somebody, to prey on a gullible public. The worst of them is Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband, Frédéric Prinz von Anhalt. He’s banned from all our events.
How does PR influence the legal system?
Legal PR is a major niche. We helped bring Phil Spector to trial for murder by countering his lawyers’ efforts to destroy the reputation of my friend, the late Lana Clarkson. We did seven years of pro bono work and started ‘Friends of Lana Clarkson’ to honor her memory and keep the public aware that Spector tortured and murdered her in his home. We handled precedential cases like the American Airlines case which changed how pets are handled on flights. McDonalds is tearing those dangerous playgrounds out because we subpoenaed thousands of insurance records documenting McDonalds’ playground injuries. O. J. Simpson’s Ford Bronco driver was our client.
Is there a new book about O. J. Simpson?
We’re promoting a major book release for “O. J. the Killer, the Chronology of the Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman Murders,” by Cheryl Kane and Det. James Pembroke, which was just released.
What is the purpose of “Save Coldwater Canyon?”
SaveColdwaterCanyon.com aims to stop the large vanity project at Beverly Hills’ Harvard Westlake School. Construction will close Coldwater Canyon for three years. Additional traffic will reduce Laurel Canyon and Beverly Glen into giant parking lots. It is a huge environmental nightmare. They’ll waste millions of dollars and break hundreds of zoning laws fulfilling their plans.
What’s next for the Night of 100 Stars Oscar Party?
We’re now doing pre-publicity for the 28th Annual Night of 100 Stars Gala for the Academy Awards at the Beverly Hilton. Norby Walters will host. Tickets are $1,000. I’ve always been involved with the Gala. The media rates ‘100 Stars’ as a top Oscar Awards viewing party. Celebrity attendees always exceed 100 and we are successful at lobbying for Academy members and Golden Globes nominations. We have promoted over 10 Oscar- winning pictures.
Fill us in on “Into the Light.”
I’m putting my documentary producer hat on for the first time on a film about the artist Kalman Aron, who survived seven Nazi concentration camps in WWII. It’s called Into the Light, the Art of Survival, the Kalman Aron Story. A prodigy before the war, he literally drew his tormentors to stay alive. He only survived because of his art. Into the Light came from the darkness. It’s a holocaust movie you can see and feel good about after, rather than be depressed. Steve Barber directs through Vanilla Fire Films (VanillaFire.com). Norman Lear is co-producing. Richard Dreyfuss will narrate.
Do you hang out with the stars?
Custom car king, the late George Barris, was an early client and became a dear friend. Chuck McCann is a great friend. One highlight of my career is the opportunity to associate with the most beautiful Hollywood stars: Ursula Andress, Tina Louise, Barbara Rush, Courtney Stodden, Brenda Dickson, Tippi Hedren and Teresa Ganzel among others.
Tell us about crisis management.
There’s stuff aboveboard and then the stuff that’s beneath… crisis management, fixing things… spin. When a client gets in trouble, we strategize how to minimize damage or turn a liability into a benefit. Let me tell you about my promotion of the worst movie ever made – The Room. Tommy Wiseau, the director/producer/writer/star wouldn’t let anyone see the film before the premiere. I had to fill the theater so I invited my clients, stars and friends to this all-out premiere with red carpets, klieg lights, matching white limos, press, the whole bit. Standing room only. Ten minutes into the screening, people started for the exits. It became a stampede. I wanted to hide. In the front row, Tommy sat blissfully unaware that the theater behind him was empty. Then the lights came up and he turned around expecting applause. People sent me condolences for my recently deceased career.
But we turned it around. We promoted it at colleges and it became a campy classic that plays regularly on the midnight circuit, worldwide. James Franco and Seth Rogan are releasing their movie, on which I consulted, about the making of The Room called The Disaster Artist.
People may need PR to promote their talent or service. We can provide that. But also, people who are in trouble, who need a new story or are being attacked shouldn’t get upset about that. If you don’t have any enemies it also means you don’t have any character.
To learn more about Edward Lozzi, his clients or his services, visit LozziPR.com.
John K. Adams is a writer and owner of Storyography – Video Memoir Services. Visit LifeStoryography.com to learn more. Adams believes everyone has a story to tell and his personal legacy videos allow clients to share those stories with future generations.