John Dartigue, Former Film Executive at Warner Bros., Dies at 82

Read Time:2 Minute

John Dartigue, former vice president of publicity at Warner Bros., died Nov. 9 in Los Angeles following a sudden illness. He was 82.

Dartigue joined Warner Bros. in 1978 as a project executive in the marketing department. In 1984, he was appointed vice president of publicity and remained with the company until his retirement in 2001.

The Warner Bros. films he promoted include “The Fugitive,” Ridley Scott’s original “Blade Runner,” Tim Burton’s “Batman” films, “Interview With the Vampire,” “GoodFellas,” “The Mission,” “New Jack City,” “Arthur,” “Caddy Shack,” “Malcolm X” and Jim Carrey’s “Ace Ventura” movies.

Dartigue began his career in the film industry in 1965 at United Artists. He started as a reader in the story department before serving as a trainee in what was formerly called foreign advertising and publicity, under Ashley Boone. He then switched over to the domestic side of publicity, where he eventually served as director of publicity beginning in 1975 and vice president of advertising and publicity briefly in 1978.

At United Artists, Dartigue supervised the publicity campaigns of such projects as “Persona,” “Shame,” “Stolen Kisses,” “The Bride Wore Black,” “Satyricon,” “The Last Waltz,” “New York, New York,” “Midnight Cowboy,” “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” “Apocalype Now,” “Carrie,” “Coming Home,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Last Tango in Paris,” “Lenny,” “Network,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Rocky,” “Women in Love” and the first 10 “James Bond” films.

Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Dartigue moved to the U.S. at the age of 5. His father Maurice worked in the education field in Haiti, Paris and Africa, and John wrote the preface for and edited several works about his father’s career: “Maurice Dartigue: Educational Development in Haiti 1804-1946” and “From Haiti to Africa, Itinerary of Maurice Dartigue, a Visionary Educator.” His mother, the former Esther Reithoffer, directed nursery schools in Port-au-Prince, Great Neck and Paris. John co-wrote with his mother “Forging Ahead: Recollections of the Life and Times of Esther Dartigue.”

After his senior year at the American School of Paris, Dartigue attended Brandeis University, where he met future executives Ashley Boone and Cheryl Boone. He received his B.A. in English and American literature at Brandeis and his M.A. in political science at Columbia University.

Dartigue became a U.S. citizen in 1973 with the sponsorship of David Picker, then president of United Artists.

He is survived by cousins residing in the U.S., Haiti, Jamaica, Germany and Transylvania, and by friends across North America and Western Europe.