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Robert A. Wachsman; Columnist

September 23, 1993

Robert A. Wachsman, a publicist and columnist who left Hollywood for Ventura County when his name was linked to Communism during the Army-McCarthy hearings in the early 1950s, has died.

Wachsman, who died Sept. 7 in Santa Paula, was 91.

A native of Chicago, Wachsman earned a degree in economics at the Wharton School of Economics and Finance at the University of Pennsylvania, and began his career in advertising in New York.

After producing radio advertisements with Harold Arlen and Ira Gershwin, Wachsman became casting director for George and Ira Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess" and moved west as the show's production manager.

Wachsman became the "Ramblin' Reporter" for the Hollywood Reporter in the 1940s, and opened his own public relations firm, R.A. Wachsman & Co.

His clients included Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, Bob Cummings, Doris Day, Claudette Colbert, John Garfield and Maureen O'Hara.

But he left Hollywood after witnesses before the House Un-American Activities Committee charged that he dined and associated with known Communists--a charge he denied.

In Ventura County, Wachsman publicized commercial clients and the Ventura County Forum for the Arts, and established his own newspaper, the Peninsula Harbor News, which later became the Ventura County & Coast Reporter. He wrote a column under his somewhat provocative initials, "R.A.W."

Wachsman is survived by two daughters, Barbara and Susan of Los Angeles, a son, Stephen, of Ventura, and five grandchildren.

A memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. Oct. 3 at the Unitarian Church, 4949 Foothill Road, Ventura.

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