Daniel J. Edelman, founder and chairman of the eponymous public relations agency, died today of heart failure, the agency confirmed. He was 92 years old.
Edelman founded Edelman, the company, in 1952 in Chicago. It is now among the largest and most prestigious public relations networks in the world, representing clients including Kraft, Unilever and Samsung.
Edelman, a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, served during World War II in the intelligence division of the U.S. Army where he produced newspapers for other soldiers and analyzed German propaganda. After the war, Edelman also worked as a news writer at CBS and a publicist at record label Musicraft and hair-care company Toni before launching his own firm. Toni was its first client. Cake company Sara Lee was its second.
Edelman’s accomplishments also included inventing the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line in 1981 and working with StarKist to introduce dolphin-safe nets in 1989.
Edelman and his company have also worked for causes including the Global Coalition on HIV/AIDS and Save the Children.
Edelman, the company, now has 66 offices around the globe, with more than 4,500 employees. Edelman, the man, is survived by his son Richard, now the company’s president and CEO. Daniel Edelman’s wife, Ruth Ann Rozumoff Edelman, is a member of the firm’s board of directors. His daughter Renee and his son John also work at the company.
A picture of Edelman appeared today on the company’s website in his memory, along with a brief statement: “There will never be another Dan Edelman—indomitable, ever modest, always resilient, ready for the next challenge. His story inspires us all.”