When Richard Gere was recently interviewed by Barbara Walters about his marriage plans, the actor started shouting off camera for "Andrea! Andrea!"
When Oliver Stone picked up an Oscar for "Platoon," one of the people he thanked was Andrea.
And when Los Angeles magazine last summer published a scathing article, "Flacks Fatales," about the way some of Hollywood's big-time movie publicists try to exert total control over their clients' images, one of the principals was Andrea.
Andrea Jaffe made headlines in Hollywood's trade newspapers last week with reports that she was closing her publicity firm, Andrea Jaffe and Associates, to become president of marketing at 20th Century Fox. Hollywood immediately started talking about who would take over her famous client list, which includes Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Bette Midler, Warren Beatty, Sissy Spacek, Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O'Neal, and directors Stone and Barry Levinson.
One publicist predicted that "every publicist in town is on the phone to every manager and agent, trying to recruit her clients. Andrea was very close to her clients, very hands-on with people like Oliver and Bette."
In an interview, Jaffe confirmed her new position and said she would make recommendations to her clients about which publicist they should sign with.
There are many stories of Jaffe's impact on magazine stories, photos and TV features on her clients. She's been known to reject an editor's choice of a writer in favor of one who might be more predisposed to her client.
One publicist speculated that even though Jaffe made her impact felt on the publicity campaigns for a lot of films and "ruled the roost in her office," she "inevitably came up against the power of studio vice presidents." One recent case was a tale of Hoffman: His "Billy Bathgate," made for Disney/Touchstone Pictures, entered the marketplace about six weeks before "Hook," in which he also stars. Disney wanted Hoffman to promote "Billy"; Jaffe wanted the star to wait and promote "Hook."
Currently, Jaffe is in the midst of one of her busier seasons: besides "Hook," clients Beatty (November Vanity Fair cover) and Levinson are due out with "Bugsy"; Midler (Vanity Fair's December cover and the recent Barbara Walters special) has just opened in "For the Boys," and Stone's controversial "JFK" is due in theaters Dec. 20.
Jaffe said that even though she has no direct experience in film marketing, "the kinds of clients I work with have marketing clauses in their contracts. These experiences whet my appetite because I really got to see how wonderful it is to put together a whole marketing campaign . . . the new job allows me to work on a much bigger canvas."
Rival publicist and Jaffe's former boss, Pat Kingsley of PMK Public Relations, said she is "jealous" of Fox for getting Jaffe. She called it a "tremendous boost to women in the industry," which has few major female executives.
Kingsley said she had tried to persuade Jaffe a year ago to merge their two companies. Such a united company could have had the muscle of the Creative Artists Agency within the world of Hollywood publicity.
In the Los Angeles magazine article, the three most prominent names were Jaffe, Kingsley and Susan Geller. "With Andrea gone," Kingsley said, "I'm a little disappointed that our ranks have diminished to two."