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Legendary Bay Area Publicist Charles Zukow Takes Final Bow


Following nearly 35 years of service, Zukow set to retire at the end of March.

Legendary Bay Area Publicist Charles Zukow Takes Final Bow

Today, legendary San Francisco Bay Area publicist Charles Zukow announced his retirement following nearly 35 years of service representing arts and lifestyle clients around the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond.

Charly's position as one of San Francisco's best-known marketing professionals is the culmination of a life-long career that has included time in almost every aspect of entertainment. Whether representing national Broadway tours, the hottest new attraction, or the Bay Area's most prominent non-profit organizations' galas, Zukow has helped 'put butts in seats,' bring awareness to noteworthy causes, and raise millions of dollars.

Charly found his way to public relations after an acting career that included small roles in "Making Love," starring Harry Hamlin, "Cheech and Chong's Up In Smoke," and "Skatetown U.S.A." He worked in theatre with the L.A. Stage Company, where he immersed himself in countless productions and learned all things theatre, including public relations and marketing. He also spent several years in the music industry before moving to San Francisco to work as an Account Executive for Bill Lanese Advertising and Public Relations and later as the PR Director for the San Francisco International Film Festival.

In 1990, he joined Browne Abrams Public Relations, a theatrical public relations agency which represented touring Broadway shows. Shortly thereafter, he became a partner, and the company became Browne Zukow Associates and added additional marketing services including media buying, graphic design, and promotions for its clients. Charly kept his place through various name and personnel changes, and took over the company in 2002. Over the years, Zukow and the agency prided themselves on client retention. The firm represented both the world-renowned musical revue Beach Blanket Babylon and Cirque du Soleil in Northern California for over 25 years, as well as San Francisco General Hospital Foundation for fourteen years, to name a few.

Zukow has donated his time and expertise to a number of non-profit organizations and causes. He has volunteered his services to Academy of Friends, a non-profit AIDS fundraising organization, of which he was also on the Board. Other non-profits include GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) and V-Day San Francisco 2002. He also served on the board of Meals on Wheels of San Francisco for seven years and Education Outside for five years. Zukow currently sits on the Board of the Palace of Fine Arts.

"I am the luckiest guy in the world! I love my job and have had an incredible career," said Zukow. "Over the years, I have had the honor and privilege of working with some of the best and brightest-from staff who have inspired me every day and groundbreaking theatre clients to non-profits organizations that have made a difference in the community. I look forward to the next act."

"I owe my entire career in public relations to Charly, and I know there are many others who can say the same," said Kevin Kopjak, Vice President of Public Relations and Marketing at Charles Zukow Associates. "Through his passion and dedication, he has forever changed the public relations industry and his impact on our lives and community will be felt for years to come. As I embark on opening my own firm, I will forever be grateful for the knowledge and values he has instilled in me over the past 17.5 years."

What some of Charly's colleagues have to say:

"Some of the happiest moments of my very fortunate career in showbiz were the same moment over and over again shared with Charly Zukow. There was an ad on TV way back when. Showbiz legend Bobby Short with his big, sophisticated smile would sing, 'There's a fragrance that's here's today and they call it Charlie!' to sell perfume. Every time I would see our Charly I would put on my version of a sophisticated smile and belt out, 'There's a fellow (I think that was the word, I don't really remember, some word like that) who's here today and we call him Charly!' Charly and I laughed together every time. And next time I see him, I bet we laugh again. I love Charly."
- Penn Jillette, Magician Extraordinaire, Penn & Teller

"Wishing the wonderful Charly Zukow a rockin' retirement! Charly always has that extra bit of stardust and passion about what he does and the gift of making work fun. As a marketing maestro, Charly was instrumental in enticing new audiences to take a chance on Mamma Mia! as we embarked on our very first adventure in the US with the Tour in early 2000 and as they say the rest is history. It has been an absolute privilege to have worked with Charly and to also call him a friend. It is always very special when you meet someone in our industry and you become friends for life. Congratulations to Charly on his remarkable and inspiring career, may the next act be as exciting and fabulous as the first!"
- Judy Craymer, Creator & Producer, Mamma Mia!

"I was honored to have Charly as part of the Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon team for over 25 years. I will forever value Charly's integrity, ingenuity, and friendship. May this next chapter of his life bring him endless joy in doing the things he loves!
-Jo Schuman Silver, Producer, Steve Silver's Beach Blanket Babylon

"So the prince of San Francisco performance publicists takes his final bow. His presence, and his work, will definitely be missed. Charly Zukow may be too young for retirement, but he's earned it. For at least three decades, Charly has been not only a tireless purveyor of publicity for Bay Area theaters but an exemplary model of the publicist as both advocate for his clients and facilitator for the press he worked with. As a critic, I always knew I could count on Charly-not only for efficiency in providing any necessary contacts or material but for the completeness and accuracy of the information provided. You might call his work reliable hype-to the extent that Charly's very presence as publicist came to lend a certain promise to the shows he plugged, an implied imprimatur of quality. Even if the show didn't always live up to that promise, it was always a pleasure to work with Charly. I hope to enjoy the pleasure of his company at many more shows to come."
- Robert Hurwitt, Former Theater Critic, San Francisco Chronicle

"Charly has been our colleague and friend for over 15 years. His work with San Francisco General Hospital Foundation has helped raise millions of dollars for the betterment of the San Francisco Bay Area. We are extremely grateful for his guidance, support, compassion, and extraordinary ability to garner media coverage year-after-year for Hearts in SF. Although we will miss working alongside him, we congratulate him on his much-deserved retirement."
- Pam Baer, Lifetime Director, and Judy Guggenhime, Chair, San Francisco General Hospital Foundation

"How can you sum up 35 years of excellence in one quote? Over the years, Charly has been a consummate professional, a kind and wonderful friend, and beyond generous with his time and dedication to non-profit organizations throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. I wish him nothing but the best as he moves on to the next act."
-MeMe Pederson, Founder & CEO, Taste Catering and Event Planning

"When one thinks of the definition of a public relations pro, Charly Zukow is the pinnacle. Classy, smart, creative, and a professional who lives by the adage that we start with the truth. It's been my absolute joy to count him as a colleague for more than 30 years. I'm looking forward to many more fancy lunches starting in April."
- David Landis, President, Landis Communications Inc.

Zukow's retirement and the closing of Charles Zukow Associates will be effective beginning March 31, 2021. Zukow looks forward to traveling with his husband, John, spending more time with their six grandchildren, and continuing his passion for theatre, cooking, and gardening.

After 17.5 years at Charles Zukow Associates, Kevin Kopjak will open his own San Francisco-based entertainment and lifestyle public relations firm, Prismatic Communications, beginning on April 1, 2021.

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