Fred Papert, Adman and 'New York Hero,' Dies at 89

After Successful Advertising Career, Partner at Papert Koenig Lois Worked as a New York Preservationist

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Fred Papert at the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Grand Central Entry Dedication
Fred Papert at the Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis Grand Central Entry Dedication Credit: Marc A. Hermann / MTA New York City Transit

Fred Papert, a partner at ad agency Papert Koenig Lois, died of a pulmonary embolism on May 20. He was 89.

Mr. Papert recruited George Lois and Julian Koenig from Doyle Dane Bernbach to create Papert Koenig Lois in 1960. Papert Koenig Lois was the second U.S. agency to go public, selling 100,000 shares of class A common stock in 1962.

"He was charming," George Lois, 85, founder of New York-based shop Lois Transmedia, said of his friend. "He understood great work and he knew how to help sell it."

Mr. Papert created campaigns during the Mad Men era, but he and Mr. Lois would deny any resemblance of their experiences to the show. "We stood up to our clients when we had to," Mr. Papert said in an interview with The New York Landmarks Conservancy. "We did what we had to do. How unlike what you see on 'Mad Men.'"

Papert Koenig Lois was a top American agency that reached billings of $40 million in 1967. The firm is known for clever campaigns, such as one for Xerox Corp. featuring a copier-operating chimpanzee. Other clients included Procter & Gamble Co., Pharmacraft Laboratories and Clark Oil & Refinding Corp. The agency also had a hand in work for Jacob Javits for his 1962 U.S. Senate race and Robert Kennedy's 1964 Senate campaign.

The agency closed in 1969, a few years after Mr. Lois and Mr. Koenig left. Mr. Papert then left advertising to pursue preservation. In 1976, he created the 42nd Street Development Corporation and helped transform Times Square from a row of porn shops and massage parlors into an off-off Broadway theater row. He also saved Grand Central Terminal from demolition in the mid-1970s by garnering the support of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan and writer Brendan Gill.

"He worked tirelessly for New York," Mr. Lois said. "You could call him a New York hero."

Mr. Papert is survived by his daughters Lisha Papert Lecari and Emily Papert Williams and a granddaughter. Diane Keedwell, his wife of 53 years, died in 2006.

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CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story credited Papert Koenig Lois with a Maypo campaign featuring Mickey Mantle. That campaign was created by Lois Holland Callaway.

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