Gil Schwartz, the colorful longtime CBS executive who was also an author and columnist under the pen name Stanley Bing, died Saturday at his home in Santa Monica. He was 68.
Schwartz led communications at CBS for more than 20 years. He was well-liked and respected by a journalists for his erudite and forthright approach. He was energetic in spinning the virtues of CBS Corp. — as well as pointing out the shortcomings of rival networks — but he had an underlying respect for the job of journalists that came from his many years in broadcasting and his work as a writer.
As Stanley Bing, Schwartz was a regular columnist for Fortune and GQ. He also penned 13 business and humor books that skewered the corporate world and media in particular. He wrote three novels, including 1998’s “Lloyd — What Happened,” which was developed as a movie prospect for HBO.
“For the better part of three decades, Gil Schwartz led CBS Communications with creative flare, craftsman-like expertise and an abundance of personality,” CBS said in a statement. “He was a counselor to senior management, a mentor to future PR executives and a popular presence in every hallway. His diverse and sophisticated repertoire ranged from artful media relations and gifted wordsmithing skills to an insightful and humorous view of the media world he loved. Gil will long be remembered by the many teams he led across entertainment, news, sports and the corporate world.”
A native of New York, Schwartz grew up in New Rochelle and attended Brandeis University, earning a BA in English and theater arts. He began his professional life as a playwright, poet and actor and he was an accomplished guitarist and musician. He was the one of the co-founders of Next Move, an improv troupe in Boston. Among his early plays was 1982’s “Ferocious Kisses.”
Schwartz got his start in communications working for TV station owner Westinghouse Broadcasting, which eventually led him to CBS in 1996.
For years, Schwartz was a big hit at CBS’ annual affiliates meeting with a Robert Benchley-esque humorous presentation about the state of the network. He hosted CBS’ annual holiday party for journalists, which was a couldn’t-miss affair for anyone with a taste for industry gossip and pigs in a blanket.
More to come