Samuel Thurm Dies at 88

WASHINGTON Samuel Thurm, an advertising executive who was perhaps best known for his stint as media director at Lever Brothers, where he worked on TV shows like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best, died Monday in Princeton, N.J., after a long illness. He was 88.

Following a stint at Young & Rubicam, Thurm went to Lever, where he rose to vp of advertising. There he was credited with taking the lead in casting African Americans, Asians and other minorities in national ad campaigns. A Newsweek article described him as the “Branch Rickey of nighttime television.” (Rickey was a baseball executive credited with helping to integrate the Major Leagues.)

Thurm served as chairman of the Association of National Advertisers, the American Advertising Federation and the Advertising Research Foundation. He was also vice chairman of the Ad Council.

When Thurm left Lever in 1973, he led the ANA’s Washington, D.C., office, where he remained until retiring in 1987.

His wife Arlene and two sons, Andrew of Princeton and Allen of Los Angeles, survive him.