Julian Senior, Former Warner Bros. Marketing Executive, Dies at 85

Julian Senior, a veteran international marketing executive for Warners and MGM who enjoyed a long working relationship with Stanley Kubrick and many other notable filmmakers, died Jan. 1. He was 85.

His death was announced by former Warners executive Conor Nolan.

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Born in South Africa, Senior was at MGM for eight years before joining Warners in 1970 as an advertising and publicity consultant in Europe, and soon after was appointed VP of European advertising and publicity.

He became senior VP of European regional advertising and publicity in 1993, and oversaw dozens of Warner Bros. film campaigns. Senior retired in 2000 and handed over the marketing and publicity reins to Con Gornell and Nolan.

His friendship with Kubrick began in 1970 when the director finished “A Clockwork Orange.” Senior oversaw the advertising and publicity campaigns for “The Shining,” “Full Metal Jacket” and Kubrick’s final film, “Eyes Wide Shut” with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman.

Senior once said of his relationship with the celebrated filmmaker, “He taught me how publicity, advertising and marketing operates. The most pragmatic, logical human being in the world and of course advertising and publicity is logical common sense. You produce a product; you define the audience and then you tell them what the product’s like.”

Jan Harlan, executive producer on “Eyes Wide Shut,” said “What connected Julian and Stanley over almost 30 years was the ability of both men to distinguish between what is serious and what is not, to care endlessly about the serious and to make fun of what was pretentious.”

Working on marketing campaigns for films including “Goodfellas,” “JFK” and the Lethal Weapon franchise, Senior also had close working relationships with filmmakers including Clint Eastwood, Michael Mann, David Puttnam, Neil Jordan, Richard Donner, Jerry Weintraub, Oliver Stone, Tim Burton, William Friedkin and Arnon Milchan.

Senior worked on Eastwood films including “Unforgiven” and “Space Cowboys.” Eastwood said in a statement, “Over many years, I came to rely on Julian’s advice and commitment, to respect his professionalism and to enjoy most of all, his jokes. I shall miss him.”

With Puttnam, Senior helped develop campaigns for films including the Oscar-winning “Chariots of Fire,” “Local Hero” and “The Killing Fields.” Puttnam said: “What was special about Julian is that he was a ‘friend for all seasons’ – not just supporting and celebrating success but helping to analyze and pick up the pieces following (in my case all too many) failures.”

Jordan, with whom Senior worked on the release of “Michael Collins,” said, “The quiet aplomb with which he steered my film ‘Michael Collins’ through controversy is worthy of a movie alone. He was a legend, and the film business is a little quieter without him.

Senior is survived by his children David, Paul and Phillippa and eight grandchildren.

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