Freddie Ross Hancock, the British marketing consultant and publicist who represented Sophia Loren, Julie Andrews, Benny Hill, Theodore Bikel and Jim Dale and helped bring the British Academy of Film and Television Arts to New York, has died. She was 92.
Ross Hancock died Sunday at her home in Manhattan, friend and former Warner Bros. executive Luke Fontneau announced.
Another of her clients was popular English comedian and actor Tony Hancock. They began a romantic relationship in 1957 while he was married and wed in December 1965, but soon after she filed for divorce, he died by suicide in 1968 at age 44.
After Hancock’s death, she moved to the U.S., where she worked as an acquisitions executive for American Video Films, served as vice chairman of the U.S. wing of the Royal Television Society and consulted for companies including Miramax.
She was honored as a Member of the British Empire in 2002.
Born Freda Ross on April 7, 1930, she started out in PR with the Holland America cruise line before segueing to show business. In addition to her future husband and Hill, her early clients included Sheila Hancock, Terry Scott and Hugh Lloyd.
Ross Hancock also worked for Universal Pictures’ U.K. arm, where she advised Shelley Winters, Rock Hudson and Piper Laurie, before starting her own firm. In 1969, she co-wrote Hancock, a book about her husband, who had battled alcohol abuse.
Ross Hancock organized the 80th birthday party for Masterpiece Theatre legend Alistair Cooke in New York in November 1988, getting Leonard Bernstein to perform and then-president Ronald Reagan to send a video greeting.
She helped give BAFTA a greater international profile with its New York launch at the Carlyle in 1995.