Jim Travis, Head of Reagan's 'Tuesday Team,' Dead at 83

Published on .

James D. Travis, who in 1984 headed up the Reagan reelection campaign's "Tuesday Team," died Sunday, May 8 at the age of 83. His death was confirmed by his wife of 36 years, Marty Travis.

On joining Former President Ronald Reagan's reelection campaign, Mr. Travis took a leave of absence from his position as president of Della Femina, Travisano & Partners of New York City and put together an all-star team of creative talent drawn from his own and other agencies.

Mr. Travis recruited writer Jim Weller and art director/owner Ron Travisano from his own agency; Hal Riney from Ogilvy & Mather; and creative standouts Tom Messner and Ron Berger.

"Under Jim's direction they produced creative work considered by many to be the most successful presidential advertising campaign in history, highlighted by a television commercial written by Hal Riney titled "Morning in America," which is a classic that all presidential commercials in the future should be measured against," wrote Jerry Della Femina, a longtime friend of Mr. Travis.

Advertising Age Player

James Dunton Travis was born in Grand Rapids, Mich. on July 31, 1932. He went to Denison University in Granville, Ohio, graduating with the class of 1954.

His first job was at Colgate International. He then joined the advertising agency Warwick & Legler. He moved on to Young & Rubicam and then worked for Delehanty, Kurnit & Geller as a management supervisor.

Mr. Travis's greatest success came when he joined Della Femina, Travisano & Partners advertising agency. He supervised the Blue Nun wine account and helped turn it into the number-one imported wine sold in the United States. He headed up marketing at the agency and went on to successfully run the agency's California office as its president. He was made president of the entire agency in 1982.

Mr. Della Femina said of Mr. Travis, "He could have stepped right into the television show 'Mad Men.' Jim was a great personality He was very, very smart and he liked to laugh. He was beloved by everyone who ever worked with him and was greatly respected by every client with whom he ever worked."

In 1986, Mr. Travis successfully negotiated the sale of Della Femina, Travisano & Partners to White Collins Rutherford Scott. He left to help start Hal Riney & Partners, the advertising agency, where he served as president for four years before his retirement.

Mr. Travis lived with his wife in Chester, Conn. and New York City. He was previously married to singer and actress Nancy Dussault.

Most Popular
In this article: