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SENIOR DISNEY EXECUTIVE ERWIN OKUN DIES, WAS ONE OF NATION'S TOP PR PROFESSIONALS

 SENIOR DISNEY EXECUTIVE ERWIN OKUN DIES,
 WAS ONE OF NATION'S TOP PR PROFESSIONALS
 BURBANK, Calif., Nov. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Erwin D. Okun, senior vice president for corporate communications at The Walt Disney Company and one of the nation's leading public relations professionals, died today at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a brief illness. Cause of death was cancer of the esophagus. He was 58.
 He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and served on the California Attorney General's Commission on Prevention of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.
 Named by a national panel of his peers as "Public Relations Man of the Year" in 1990, Mr. Okun also served as a Disney corporate officer, a position to which he was elected by the Disney board of directors in 1984.
 "The entire Walt Disney Company is stunned and saddened by the loss of this warm, gentle, wise and unassuming man," said Michael D. Eisner, Disney chairman.
 "Erwin Okun was the company's spokesperson who offered a voice of reason during the tumultuous period when Disney was the target of corporate raiders. Later, he played a key role in the rejuvenation of Disney, helping the company articulate its goals and achievements at a time in its history when no priority was of greater importance.
 "He will be missed by all who knew and worked with him. We are fortunate, however, that the Okun legacy will carry on at Disney through Erwin's daughters."
 Susan Okun Bogner works for the Disney Channel and Hilary Okun is with Disney's Hollywood Records. His daughter Lynne is a graduate student in Art Therapy.
 Disney President Frank G. Wells said, "Erwin Okun's understanding of public relations and the need for a company to be fair and open made him one of the most respected company spokesmen in American industry. He was both personable and professional. We will miss him and his guidance. Our hearts go out to his family and friends."
 The son of Russian immigrants, Mr. Okun was born in the Bronx during the Depression.
 Inspired by his father Sam, who helped organize the Electrical Workers Union, he won a schl?arship to Cornell University, where he earned a degree in Industrial and Labor relations. He was an honors graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.
 Mr. Okun was a newsman for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the New York World-Telegram and Sun and was business editor of Newsday before joining IBM Corp., where he spent more than 15 years and held top public relations management positions. Prior to joining Disney in 1981, he was director of communications for DiscoVision Associates, a joint venture of IBM and MCA, Inc.
 Mr. and Mrs. Okun campaigned for numerous civic causes and candidates in Beverly Hills.
 He is survived by his widow, Judy; three daughters, Susan, Lynne and Hilary; and his brother, Arthur.
 Final arrangements are pending.
 -0- 11/1/92 R
 /CONTACT: Tom Deegan of The Walt Disney Company, 818-560-1572/
 (DIS) CO: The Walt Disney Company ST: California IN: ENT SU:


JP-SB -- NYSU010R -- 1493 11/02/92 10:23 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 2, 1992
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