2006: Fred Strauss

2006 Pub­lic­ity Club of Chicago Life­time Achieve­ment Hon­oree:
Fred Strauss

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.