Gregory Richard Pruitt, 46, former new business chief at Cliff Freeman and Partners, died on March 13, at AtlantiCare Medical Center in New Jersey, surrounded by his family and his friends.
Pruitt had been recently named managing partner and director for business development at MediaCom, one of largest media planning and buying networks for advertising firms. Prior to joining MediaCom, he founded his own business development consulting practice, Pruitt+Partners, after leading successful new business initiatives at Freeman, DeVito/Verdi and the Ogilvy Group.
Pruitt left Cornell University in 1986 to work in advertising, writing copy at Bozell, Atlanta as an unpaid intern and was subsequently promoted to a staff job at Bozell, New York. Later he supervised creative at Deutsch and directed a creative group at Partners & Shevack. He helped shape brands such as Merrill Lynch, Holiday Inn, Sherwin-Williams, Chrysler and Major League Baseball.
Pruitt also directed Off-Broadway theater, wrote and produced for CBS News and co-founded H20 Films, a branded content production company that developed award-winning work for Fruit of the Loom, Procter & Gamble's "History of Paper" and for community service organizations, including the Cabbage Patch Settlement House for which he won an Aurora Gold award.
Calling himself a media "adventurer," Pruitt enjoyed the challenge of getting people to say "yes" as an ad agency copywriter, theatrical producer and Madison Avenue rainmaker. One of the people who said yes was Erin Murray, a TV commercial producer at Partners & Shevack. The Pruitts were married on Dec. 12, 1998, at Old Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York.
Pruitt is survived by his wife, Erin, and their three sons, Alexander, Nicholas and William of Ridgewood, N.J.; his parents Richard and Roberta Pruitt of Port St. Lucie, Fla.; and his sister and brother-in-law Paige and Doug Haase of Washougal, Wash.
In lieu of flowers, the family is establishing a memorial scholarship fund for college advertising students and requests that donations be made to: Gregory R. Pruitt Memorial Fund, c/o Merrill Lynch, 2 World Financial Center, 35th floor, New York, N.Y. 10281.