Theater publicist Kim Garfield, known for her deep voice and magnetic personality, died October 31 from complications following surgery for stomach cancer. In 2001, this newspaper awarded her its “Queen of the Angels” Award, given to people who have made a significant contribution to the local stage. But as both a publicist and an occasional contributor to Drama-Logue and The Advocate, Garfield had a galvanizing energy as an ambassador for and friend to the theater community. Also, her sense of humor was infectious. A longtime colleague, director-producer David Galligan, remembers them both shrieking with laughter from imitations they would do of the celebrities on the client list of John Springer, Associates, where they both worked for many years.
“We’d spend hours doing Zsa Zsa and Betty Grable. It helps when each of you thinks the other is the funniest person on Earth,” Galligan says.
Garfield was born in 1934 to restaurateur Leon Garfield and his wife, Celia, in New York, where she attended the High School for the Performing Arts. “She always wanted to be an actress,” recalls her brother, Joe Garfield.
Following high school, she worked for both MGM Studios and John Springer, Associates as a publicist, before transferring with Springer to Los Angeles in 1977. Garfield was a gay woman with no immediate family in the area; her primary family was her best friend from New York, Tanya Everett, who settled in Los Angeles and married Wally Bagot. Garfield was godmother to their daughter, Melissa.
“It meant the world to her when Melissa had a child. In a sense, Kim became a grandmother,” Bagot says.
Bagot also remembers trips to Paris, where he and Garfield transformed into invented, grossly clichéd French characters, George Fabrique and Gene Vieve, just to see if the Parisians would catch their joke. They didn’t. The Fountain Theatre, where Garfield worked until she died, is preparing a remembrance for her. For further information, call (323) 663-2235.
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