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Hollywood salutes veteran publicist Cowan

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r more than 50 years, publicist Warren Cowan stood in the background as his famous clients received Oscars and Emmys. On Thursday night, Cowan was the guest of honor. He received the Mentor of the Year award from the nonprofit Volunteers of America for helping to train two generations of Hollywood publicists. "You've been able to spin the magic that this town is famous for," former client Shirley MacLaine said. Elizabeth Taylor, speaking to the Beverly Hilton Hotel audience from New York, lavished praise on Cowan. Paul Newman, also in the East, read a raucous poem in his honor. In his acceptance speech, Cowan dedicated the award "to my own mentor, the late Henry Rogers." In the 1950s, the two created Rogers and Cowan, which became the biggest entertainment publicity agency in the world. Its clients included Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant, Doris Day, Lucille Ball, Ronald Reagan, Grace Kelly and the Beatles. In 1988, the firm was sold to a British conglomerate. A few years later, Cowan launched his own publicity office. His clients include Liza Minnelli and Kirk Dougla

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