The First-Ever Museum Show about a Famous and Beloved Publicist

The first-ever museum exhibition about a publicist, honoring the celebrity-studded life and career of Charlie Cinnamon, a promotional genius who was nationally recognized and greatly admired, debuts June 19 at the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU.

The Grand Sage of Publicity, for whom all of life had been a stage was unmatched in his field. Because he was revered by the news media at a level uncommon for most publicists, and was highly respected by national cultural institutions, captains of industry, Americas leading philanthropists and arts patrons, his passing in 2016 made national headlines.

This timely exhibition comes at a precarious moment for society and the media, offering valuable lessons from history about the ways this community hero honored his life-long partnerships with journalists, artists and entertainers, politicians and business leaders.

Richard Jay-Alexander and Manny Hernandez helped to preserve Cinnamons memorabilia and spearheaded this tribute. The exhibition features more than 100 historic items curated from Cinnamon’s personal showbiz archives, from his childhood growing up in the Bronx during the 1920s, all the way through 2016.

Charlie with Richard Jay-Alexander
Charlie with Manny Hernandez

Photos and ephemera span the more than sixty years Charlie Cinnamon reigned as the countrys most beloved press agent for Americas leading arts organizations and national public affairs campaigns for major institutions and companies.

While todays frenetic social media stream and the fake news phenomena turn the news industry upside-down, Cinnamons straightforward brand of public relations hearkens back to a time when a handshake and a gentlemans agreement meant so much more.

Cinnamon worked until the age of 94. He presented his last press conference shortly before his death, promoting a national tour for Ali McGraw and Ryan ONeal.

For 60+ years, he was coveted as a news promoter by the worlds biggest stars, including: Elizabeth Taylor, Johnny Carson, Tallulah Bankhead, Milton Berle, Carol Channing, Ethel Merman, Chita Rivera, Lauren Bacall, Liza Minelli, Eartha Kitt, Hugh Hefner, Princess Caroline of Monaco, Julio Iglesias, Rita Moreno and many more.

He was tapped to lead national public affairs campaigns for some of the worlds leading cultural organizations and commercial enterprises, including: National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and its National YoungArts Foundation, the national campaign to bring the NBA franchise Miami HEAT team to Florida, the launch of Carnival Cruise Lines, the New World Symphony, Broadway Across America, and Miami City Ballet.

Charlie with Liz Taylor
Charlie with Eartha Kitt

He insisted on being called a Press Agent, using the old fashioned, direct sense of the term. press agents served as a crucial link between celebrities and the public, and the strong working relationships that Cinnamon had with these famous entertainers was paramount. We now live in a time when everyone clamors for their 15 minutes of fame via self-promotion on social media every day. But back then, the public relied on news editors for information about entertainment, celebrities and the arts.

Each year the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU chooses an icon from the community to honor with an exhibition, celebrating their contributions to national culture and the arts, said Susan Gladstone, the Executive Director of the museum. Charlie Cinnamon was the ultimate star-maker who transformed our part of the world into a star. We are recognizing the lessons his story offers for todays generations about the importance of crafting your profession with warm-heartedness, virtue, and character (plus lots of fun, glitz, and razzle-dazzle in the mix too).”

“There is a famous saying on Miami Beach: Everyone has a Charlie story, because he helped so many people and cultural institutions for more than six decades. He was beloved as a news-maker during the entertainment industrys glamorous history, adds Susan Gladstone.

Charlie Cinnamon: Legendary Press Agent is curated by Jacqueline Goldstein with items on loan from the Cinnamon family, and from Broadway producer and director Richard Jay-Alexander and photojournalist Manny Hernandez. Both men were friends and colleagues of Cinnamon for decades, and consider him a major influence on their lives and careers.

The exhibition will be on view through September 16. Visit the Jewish Museum of Florida-FIU, 301 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach, Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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