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Dale Olson dies at 78; was publicity agent for Rock Hudson when movie star revealed he had AIDS


LOS ANGELES - Dale Olson, an elder statesman of the Hollywood publicity corps whose assignments over a four-decade career included representing Rock Hudson during the last months of the actor's struggle with AIDS, died Thursday of complications of liver cancer. He was 78.

Olson, who lived in the Hollywood Hills, died at a nursing facility in Burbank, said his spouse, Eugene Harbin.

A savvy promoter of Oscar-worthy movies, Olson helped craft campaigns for stars such as Maggie Smith in "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1969), Shirley MacLaine in "Terms of Endearment" (1983) and Robert Duvall in "Tender Mercies" (1983).

During 18 years at Rogers and Cowan, he rose to head the agency's motion pictures division, leaving to run his own Beverly Hills publicity firm, Dale C. Olson & Associates, in 1985.

That year, Olson found himself in the middle of a media storm when reporters began raising questions about Hudson's health after the actor appeared shockingly gaunt at a public appearance with his former leading lady, Doris Day.

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