Howard Bragman, Crisis Management Expert and LGBTQ+ Activist, Dead at 66
Howard Bragman, public relations and crisis management expert and longtime LGBTQ+ activist, has died after a short battle with leukemia. He was 66.
According to a journal entry by his husband, Mike Maimone, Bragman died peacefully in his sleep in Los Angeles Saturday, where he was surrounded by his brother, Alan, his niece, Lizzy, and many of his dearest friends.
"It is with our heaviest hearts we share that our dear Howard passed away peacefully in his sleep at 8:50 PM, tonight, February 11, 2023," Maimone wrote on Caringbridge.com, an online forum that allows people facing various medical conditions, and their families, to communicate. "Mike, Alan, Lizzy and (Dr.) Gary were with him, holding him close, to his last breath. The enormity of our shared loss can't be overstated - Howard was a constant in so many of our lives and the brightest star in his wide constellation of friends and family."
Bragman worked as one of Hollywood’s top crisis management experts, with a client list that included Cameron Diaz, Paula Abdul, Joe Manganiello, Anna Kendrick, Sharon Osbourne, Monica Lewinsky, Stevie Wonder, Chaz Bono and many more. Bragman worked in PR for over 40 years, co-founding the firm BNC (Bragman Nyman Cafarelli), which later merged with PMK. He then founded his own firm, Fifteen Minutes PR in 2005 before later starting LaBrea Media in 2019. He also served as an Adjunct Professor in Public Relations at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg Center for Communication from 1998 to 2003.
As an openly gay executive and tireless advocate of LGBTQ+ causes, Bragman also advised a number of celebrities on coming out, such as actor Meredith Baxter, basketball player Sheryl Swoopes, country singer Chely Wright and NFL player Michael Sam.
Additionally, Bragman was adamant about supporting local causes in his hometown of Flint, Michigan including exposing the water crisis by contributing to the documentary Lead and Copper. In 2021, he also contributed a $1 million endowment to establish the Howard Bragman Coming Out Fund at the University of Michigan.
Following news of his death Sunday, GLAAD president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, released a statement, in which Ellis praised Bragman for creating change and visibility for the LGBTQ+ community.
"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," Ellis said in a statement. "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."
Per Bragman's obit, he will be laid to rest in Flint, Michigan, in a private ceremony later this week. Plans are underway for a memorial service in Los Angeles at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Bragman's family kindly asks to please consider donating to the Coming Out Fund established in his name.
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