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Lee Solters, an extraordinary press agent for everyone from Sinatra to the Beatles, has died

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Leesolterssinatra_l

If the name Lee Solters doesn’t mean much to you, well, he was one of the behind-the-scenes guys who contributed to decades of your pleasure. The press agent, who it’s reported today died on Monday at age 89, was an articulate, elegantly-attired bulldog, a man who knew how to drum up publicity for his clients.

Solters represented Frank Sinatra for 26 years. His clients included everyone from Cary Grant to Michael Jackson to the Muppets. He repped the Beatles during their 1964 American tour. There’s a very good biography to be written about Lee Solters, as colorful a man as anyone he represented.

Finally, a personal anecdote about why Lee Solters was cool. When I worked for a newspaper in Los Angeles in the late 1970s, I was banned by a local theater because I’d written what they considered “too many negative reviews” of acts they booked. (Hey, occupational hazard.) When Frank Sinatra came to town one weekend for a series of shows, Solters remembered a piece I’d written a year before about how great Sinatra’s music is. He called and asked why I wasn’t on the press list to review the show. I explained. A day later, I got a messengered envelope from Solters. His note said, “Thought you’d appreciate this.” Also included was a letter sent to the theater that had banned me, signed by Sinatra that read, “Mr. Sinatra personally requests the presence of Mr. Tucker at his opening-night performance.”

Bingo: the ban was lifted. Thanks, Lee.

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