Harry Flynn, THE UNOFFICIAL MAYOR OF WEST TOLUCA LAKE, a veteran publicist whose clients over the decades included Bob Hope, Michael Landon, Carroll O’Connor, Donna Reed and various TV networks and film studios and Honorary Mayor of West Toluca Lake, has died. He was 92.
A friend of his family told Deadline that Flynn died October 5 of natural causes in Los Angeles.
He started in the business during the 1950s but left publicity for a while to write for fan magazines. In 1962, Flynn joined the newly formed ABC on-air promotion department as a writer-producer. Two years later he moved to Columbia’s Screen Gems and would run its TV promotion/publicity department for the next five years, working on such classics series as Bewitched, I Dream Of Jeannie, The Monkees, The Donna Reed Show, The Flying Nun and others.
He then moved over to the Columbia Pictures trailer department to produce promos for films including Loving, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice and Marooned.
In 1970, Flynn took a job at Universal as a unit publicist for its longform productions. He then joined NBC as a promotional producer for The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and the network’s Bob Hope specials. Flynn then was hired by Mahoney/Wasserman to do publicity for the likes of Hope, O’Connor, Bob Newhart, Glen Campbell, Don Ho and others.
In 1980, Flynn struck out on his own, establishing the Flynn Company with this wife, Pam. Their early clients included O’Connor and his fellow All in the Family and Archie Bunker’s Place alum Danielle Brisebois. The company later would add Landon, Reed, Ernest Borgnine, Steve Railsback and others to the roster, along with the Hollywood Christmas Parade, Toys for Tots and TV shows including Charles in Charge, Airwolf and Sha Na Na.
Flynn was a producer on Hoover, a 2000 film starring Borgnine as J. Edgar Hoover that also featured interviews with the FBI founder and longtime director’s colleagues and champions.
A career highlight was being called by Hope to coordinate two of his Christmas specials for NBC: Bob Hope USO in Beirut (1984) and Bob Hope’s USO Christmas from the Persian Gulf, Around the World in 8 Days (1988).
After Landon’s death in 1991, Harry and Pam Flynn wrote a collection of celebrity reminisces about the Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie and Highway to Heaven star titled Michael Landon, Live, Love and Laughter. The couple later worked with Borgnine on his memoir, and Ernie eventually was published in 2009.
During his stint at ABC, Flynn learned about a Naval Reserve unit that produced movies. He met the skipper, Cmdr. Sol Gordon, and became his operations officer, making movies with The Combat Camera Group. The unit made several half-hour documentaries and produced the last film John Wayne ever did, Home for the Seebees.
Born on April 15, 1930, in Montclair, NJ, Flynn attended Harvard University, where he was active in the ROTC program and trained on a midshipman cruise aboard the USS Missouri, the ship where Japan had formally surrendered to the United States to end World War II. He went on to join the Navy and served a tour aboard the destroyer USS Preston in the Pacific after the Korean War.
Later in life, Flynn achieved a longtime dream of getting his pilot’s license.
He married Ursula Norton in 1955 and they had three children, Harrison, Norton and Paul. After his divorce, he married Pam Sweet in 1973 and they have one son, Sidney Carroll.
Ilija Ruzic (Rudy), 87, born on July 22, 1934, in Serbia, passed away peacefully at home, November 7, 2021. Rudy was a long-time resident of West Toluca Lake, CA and will be missed. Arrangements are under the direction of Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills, California.
Edwina Murial Hutchinson – ( 1/16/1933 – 6/19/2018 ) – Edwina grew up in West Toluca Lake. As a young woman she left the area but returned to her parent’s home on Blix in 1984 where she lived until her passing.
Edwina loved to spend her mornings out in her yard feeding the neighborhood cats, birds and squirrels. She had a smile for everyone. To know her was to love her. She will be missed by her family and friends.
Funeral Services will be held at 12:00 p.m. on July 16, 2018 at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, in the Old North Church. There will be a viewing on July 15th from 9:00 am – 9:00 pm in the main building at Forest Lawn.
John Rowlands (1947-Dec 18th 2012) – Born in Pennsylvania in 1947, John moved as a child to The San Fernando Valley and was raised in Pacoima. He bought his home on kling Street in West Toluca Lake with David Kieltyka in February 1985.
He obtained a B.S. in Psychology from UCLA and returned there in the mid 80s to study Architecture. He worked for the Los Angeles County Health Department for over 25 years, many of them as a public health investigator of communicable diseases.
John had a great interest in ancient societies and was a wonderful photographer traveling all over South America photographing Indian rock art and Mayan ruins. He also became an accomplished diver and underwater photographer. His other passion was gardening, in particular growing orchids, bromeliads, epiphyllums, and bamboos. He had several varieties that still border his beautiful back yard.
Benjamin David Levinson (1/31/1969 – 8/14/2010) – After a long bout with cancer. Born in New York, Ben was brought to California when he was 18 months old. Ben has lived with John and Barbara for many years, making friends even while fighting his disease. Ben bravely chronicled his medical battle on a blog entitled “Bensmedicalprogram”.
With sad irony, Barbara and John had just welcomed a new family member on July 23rd when their son David welcomed his first son, Jack Maxwell LaSalle in San Francisco.
Peter Cimesa ( 1920 – 2009 ) of Sarah Street died March 5th. A trumpeter, he played with Woody Herman and later became a welder on the California Aqueduct. He and his wife, Eva, lived in West Toluca Lake for 36 years. Pete rode his bike through the neighborhood for years until he became too ill to continue.