A lovable (and sometimes fierce) lion of the entertainment industry has passed away — Howard Bragman succumbed to leukemia on Saturday night at the age of 66.
The news was reported by Bragman's boyfriend, Mike Maimone, and picked up by various entertainment trade publications, including Variety.
Working in the public relations sphere for decades, Bragman founded numerous PR and media companies and represented clients as disparate as Cameron Diaz, Monica Lewinsky, and Terrence Howard. Bragman also personally oversaw the high-profile coming outs of celebrities like basketball player Sheryl Swoopes, football player Michael Sam, country singer Chely Wright, TV icon Meredith Baxter, and actor Chaz Bono. Bragman was fiercely loyal to his clients and was respected (and slightly feared) by entertainment journalists.
GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis honored Bragman's work in fostering LGBTQ+ visibility and representation.
Bragman was also philanthropic, bequeathing a $1 million endowment to establish the Howard Bragman Coming Out Fund on the facilities of the University of Michigan, his alma mater. Part of those funds benefits the Spectrum Center, a campus LGBTQ+ center. Bragman said the long-running Spectrum Center helped him as a "fat, Jewish, gay kid."
“I don’t care how liberal the school is. I don’t care how accepting and loving your parents are. I don’t care how ‘woke’ the times are. Coming out is this most personal of journeys, and it’s a challenging journey,” Bragman said. “It’s so important for students to know they are not alone and that the Spectrum Center is there for them."
A native of Flint, Mich., Bragman often spoke out about the water crisis there, where locals were poisoned by contaminated tap water.
Bragman released the book Where's My Fifteen Minutes? Get Your Company, Your Cause, or Yourself the Recognition You Deserve in 2009.
A private ceremony is planned in Flint and Bragman's family is seeking donations to the Coming Out Fund in lieu of flowers.