2006 Publicity Club of Chicago Lifetime Achievement Honoree:
Congratulations to 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Fred Strauss.Fred Strauss began his career in the talent business operating the Fred Strauss Agency and providing public relations for many celebrities visiting Cleveland. Fred’s first big hit was by the Crew Cuts and their songs “Sh-Boom” and “Earth Angel,” which garnered a gold record. It was one of rock and roll’s earliest hits. He managed the band in the mid-to-late 1950s, during the time of their greatest popularity and readily admits he had a great deal of fun, not to mention success.
With the Crew Cuts, Fred’s next move was to New York where he established the Talent Corporation of America. He had casting responsibilities for New York television shows including ‘Strike It Rich” and “The Big Payoff.” Among the personalities that Fred has managed throughout his career are gospel singer Clara Ward and, in the 1980s, Lara Flynn Boyle.
In 1960, Fred established the Communications Corporation of America in Chicago, which he still operates today. Fred was public relations director for the American Cancer Society in Chicago for fifteen years. He also was executive director of the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce and the River North Association.
Always interested in imparting knowledge on students of communications, Fred was an instructor at Roosevelt University and has lectured at Loyola University, Northeastern Illinois University and Columbia College.
Fred’s expertise in the film industry was highlighted as executive producer of “Last Full Measure of Devotion,” a documentary dealing with the assassination of John F. Kennedy with the deaths of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. The film won the Chris Award at the Columbus Film Festival and New York Film Festival. He was involved with TV productions including “The Teens of the World,” which was an annual cover story in Teen Magazine, its sponsor in the United States. During a twelveyear period, Fred visited and garnered press coverage in 28 countries for this program.
In the live event area, Fred has produced a number of events familiar of Chicagoans. He developed and produced for the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce the Medieval Faire in Oz Park and the original Oz Fest. For the Chicago Paint and Coating Association, he originated Chicago’s Finest Painted Ladies, an annual contest for the houses in Chicago which he has coordinated and publicized for the past 20 years.
For the League of Women Voters, Fred has coordinated State of the City and mayoral debates since 1984. The Harold Washington Mayoral Debate was nominated for an Emmy when he was coordinator of TV production.
Fred has been active in the Publicity Club for many years as a member of the board, president and continues to head the eligibility committee of the PCC.
Fred is listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment and is in the Festival Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Television Academy and the National Association of Recording Arts and Sciences.
Fred attended Purdue, DePaul and graduated from Western Reserve College with a bachelor’s degree in English. He was an intelligence officer for the U.S. Army.
Fred stresses the key to public relations is dealing with people and providing sensitivity to human issues.