Lawrence Foster, a former Johnson & Johnson official who helped steer the health-care giant through the Tylenol poisonings in the 1980s, died Oct. 17 at his home in Westfield, N.J. He was 88.
His family announced the death but did not disclose the cause.
A former journalist and editor with the Newark Evening News, Mr. Foster was Johnson & Johnson’s vice president of public relations when the Tylenol poisonings occurred in 1982. Seven Chicago area residents died after taking Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide. The Tylenol packages had been tampered with on store shelves, a crime that remains unsolved.
Mr. Foster guided Johnson & Johnson’s response to the poisonings, and it is widely considered a textbook example of crisis management. The company issued a nationwide alert not to use any Tylenol and then swept the pain reliever off store shelves. It communicated its strategy through the news media. When Tylenol was reintroduced after two months, it was in new triple-sealed packaging.
The moves cost Johnson & Johnson more than $100 million but preserved its reputation. A year after the poisonings, Tylenol had regained most of its market share.
Johnson & Johnson and Mr. Foster repeated their strategies in 1986 when another Tylenol-tampering incident claimed the life of a Westchester County, N.Y., woman.
Mr. Foster spent 33 years with New Brunswick, N.J.-based Johnson & Johnson before retiring in 1990.
Lou Scheimer, who founded the Filmation animation studio that produced Saturday-morning cartoons including “Fat Albert” and “The Archie Show,” died Oct. 17 at his home in Tarzana, Calif. He was 84.
The cause was Parkinson’s disease, said his wife, Mary Ann Scheimer.
Mr. Scheimer graduated with an art degree from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in his native Pittsburgh. He founded Filmation in 1962 with a $5,000 loan from his mother-in-law and opened a one-room office in Southern California. His first big hit was “The New Adventures of Superman” and the studio went on to work on series including “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” and “The Archie Show.”
He won a Daytime Emmy Award as a producer of the 1974-75 season of the “Star Trek” animated series.
In 1969, Filmation was sold to a cable operator that was bought by Westinghouse. Mr. Scheimer continued to head Filmation but was told to cut costs and in 1987 announced that some work would be shipped overseas. In 1989, Filmation was bought by a French investor group that closed the company’s Woodland Hills plant and fired most employees.
— From news services