It's always hard to report a story about someone's death, but it's even harder when that person was your friend. It's with a heavy heart that I write here about the passing of Sandi Mollod, owner of Sandi Mollod and Associates. Sandi was a veteran directors' representative and for nearly two decades worked with some of the industry's finest talents, including Kevin Thomas, Colin Gregg, Leslie Dektor, Simon Ratigan and Jamie Rafn.
Sandi was born in New York on September 17, 1952 and grew up in Great Neck, Long Island. In 1975, she moved to Paris to study mime, movement and theater at L'Ecole Internationale de Theatre Jacques Lecoq. She continued to travel and live around the world, in Tokyo, London, Paris and Kenya, at artist Peter Beard's tent encampment Hog Ranch, before she moved into the commercials world. On October 8, 2005, she married photographer/director Klaus Lucka, who shot the portrait of Sandi featured here.
According to Klaus, Sandi had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had undergone effective treatment, but she subsequently contracted lymphoma. Yesterday at 12:11p.m., Sandi succumbed to her longtime battle with cancer. She is also survived by her family, including her brother Michael Mollod and niece Daphne Taylor Mollod.
Throughout Sandi's ordeal, she experienced problems with misdiagnosis and she and Klaus had started to create informational/educational videos in conjunction with two major lymphoma organizations, work on which Klaus will continue.
I met Sandi in 2004, on an NBA shoot with Kevin Thomas and Mother New York. I was immediately drawn to her warm personality, her down-to-earth nature and her love for life. She was a consummate professional who stood out for keeping it real, and human, in an industry that isn't always so much.
Sandi was always willing to go the extra mile. I found an old Creativity article from 2000, about a Camp/Arbues campaign for PeerLogic, directed by Trevor Robinson. It featured a series of comedic commercials in which a children's show host tries to convince his little fans to tell their CEO parents to buy PeerLogic. In one spot, a character dressed like a dinosaur lies on the ground, kicking like crazy, showing the kids how to throw a tantrum if their moms and dads refused. Turns out, the reptile was played by the very petite Sandi -- she was the only person on set small enough to fit into the costume. "I literally couldn't breathe in there!" she griped happily.
Sandi was a wonderful connector. Gerry Graf, founder of Barton F. Graf 9000, says, "You know, she was just really great at bringing people together--nice people, good people. She put together the best dinner parties, and it wasn't about advertising, just getting together good people." Indeed, she rallied together some of the most unforgettable gatherings (or forgettable, depending on how you look at it -- I have many a hangover to thank her for). Personally, Sandi has helped me through rough moments, inspired some of my heartiest laughs and has been my biggest cheerleader during happy times. My heart has a big gaping hole without her.
Others in the industry are devastated by her loss. "Sandi was like family to me," says director Kevin Thomas. "I'm having trouble believing the devastating news. As human beings go she was as good as it gets. A truly wonderful and beautiful soul. I love her dearly." Philippa Thomas, managing director at ThomasThomas adds, "Sandi was one of the world's great characters, she had a heart of gold, a huge joy for life and she will be greatly, greatly missed by all of us."
James Cheung, Global CD at TBWA/Chiat/Day, remembers, "Sandi was one of the first people I met when I got to New York. I feel lucky to have known her all these years. She was a center of goodness. We'll miss her dearly.
Mike Smith, Executive Creative Director at BBDO, New York shares, "Such terribly sad news. Overwhelming. One of the most wonderful people I know. Generous and kind and funny and smart and so very very real. Just a beautiful person. And such an amazing friend. The kind of friend you are so very lucky to have, and the type of friend you can hope to be. I will miss her greatly."
Please feel free to send in your thoughts about Sandi or share in the comments section below or on her Facebook page. The memorial service for Sandi will be held on Wednesday, September 21 at Riverside Chapel, at 180 W. 76th Street in New York, near Amsterdam Avenue. The funeral will be held at Beth David Cemetery in Elmont, New York.