If a healthy, active 76 year-old public relations legend decides to change very little in her life, much less her work habits, by giving up a CEO title with the p.r. agency that she founded, how is this news? Especially if she plans to continue to come to work? Hollywood Reporter guy Borys Kit filed this story today about PMK/HBH honcho Pat Kingsley and…yeah, so?
What this probably means (and I’m just guessing) is that Kingsley is slowing down a bit and starting to downshift, which many older people tend to do (Sidney Lumet being the noteworthy exception). She says she plans to keep working and all, but — who knows? — she may want to come in later in the mornings or take the occasional afternoon off….something along those lines. A decision to smell the roses and take a bit longer sipping her tea.
Is there any journalist out there who’s actually liked Pat Kingsley, past or present? Everyone’s always respected her, of course, and when she was in her flaring-nostril prime they all feared her and wanted to stay on her good side, etc. But nobody I knew found it in their heart, much less their experience, to like her any more than the frog crossing the river could grow to “like” the scorpion.
Kingsley was always flinty and combative when it came to dealing with aggressive frontline journalists like myself, Judy Brennan, Anne Thompson and Pat Broeske back in the early ’90s, when we were reporting for Entertainment Weekly and the L.A. Times. There’s nothing wrong with being tough in doing your job, but there was always an element of anger and irritation and haughtiness in Kingsley. I remember being told in ’92 that she said to Broeske during a contentious phone call, “You’re bad, Pat…you’ve always been bad!”
Kingsley could also be, no offense, ferocious and conniving. When I faxed a letter to I’ll Do Anything producer Polly Platt late in ’93 that I’d love to see the musical version of that film somehow or somewhere (i.e., director James L. Brooks had thrown out the songs in favor of a tune-free version), Kingsley met with Entertainment Weekly editor Mark Harris, showed him a copy of the letter and said, “Look how unprofessional one of your freelance reporters is — he’s making editing suggestions to the producer instead of just reporting on the film!”
That, in my experience, was the scummiest maneuver ever pulled by a publicist in order to “get” me. Really and truly deplorable, given that the letter was about pure movie-loving enthusiasm and wanting to see the film that Brooks had set out to make, and nothing more. But that was Kingsley for you. Back then, anyway. I presume age has made her a somewhat kinder person, but then a reporter should never presume anything.