Jim Moran, 91, who was known for outrageous publicity stunts in the 1940s and 1950s to promote products, Hollywood films and himself, died here Oct. 18. The cause of death was not reported.
Sell an icebox to an Eskimo? Mr. Moran traveled to Alaska and did just that, at the behest of a refrigerator company.
Change horses in midstream? He performed the feat during the 1944 presidential campaign, in the Truckee River in Reno, Nev.
To bring attention to a property for sale, Mr. Moran once spent 10 days finding a needle in a haystack.
"He was maybe the last of the great, flamboyant press agents," said Bob Thomas, who has covered Hollywood for the past 55 years for the Associated Press. "He loved publicity himself, as well as making it."
Coddling an ostrich egg under a tailpiece of ostrich feathers, Mr. Moran managed to induce hatching in 1946. Not by coincidence did he pose during the gestation with a best-selling book, "The Egg and I," which would soon become a comedy film starring Claudette Colbert. He also walked a bull through Ovington's--a china shop on New York's Fifth Avenue.
When the producers of a Broadway show, "Fanny," failed to win much ink, they turned to Mr. Moran.
So Mr. Moran put a chimp in the driver's seat of an English taxi that had a trunk bearing the show's name and--with Mr. Moran actually driving from the back seat--motored around midtown Manhattan. A photograph of that stunt was featured in Life magazine.
James Sterling Moran, whom acquaintances described as a tall, rotund, blue-eyed Irish prankster, was born in Woodstock, Va.
A 1945 AP article said that before entering the publicity business, Mr. Moran had been a Washington airline executive and had operated a studio where members of Congress recorded speeches for their radio stations.
A longtime resident of Los Angeles and New York, he spent the last three years of his life at the Actors' Fund nursing and retirement home in Englewood, N.J.