Richard Friese

Richard Paul Friese born July 15, 1929, died peacefully at home on September 14, 2021 surrounded by his remaining loved ones.

Richard P. Friese began his career in 1953 with J. Walter Thompson in NYC. He was appointed Account Executive for UniLever’s Lux Toilet Soap; the largest selling brand in America. The development of the Lux brand was credited to a decades long advertising campaign, “9 out of 10 Hollywood stars use Lux. “ Mr. Friese worked with the most glamorous stars in the Motion Picture industry, including his favorite Grace Kelly. Following a photo shoot at the Richard Avedon studio, he recalled the two of them walking down Fifth Avenue for 20 blocks. He noticed not a single New Yorker recognized the most beautiful woman in America. Parting on Fifth and 42nd Street, Grace gave him a hug and kiss, walked away soon be known as “Her Royal Highness Grace Princess of Monaco.”
In 1955 Mr. Friese moved to San Juan, Puerto Rico to open and manage J. Walter Thompson Company Caribbean. JWT’s first assigment was to service it’s highly valued account Pan American World airlines, the “flag carrier” of the United States of America. San Juan was Pan Am’s largest station in the world outside of NYC. The airline was investing millions of dollars in advertising in San Juan including a nightly TV news broadcast that concluded the broadcasting day.
Friese returned to NY On January 1, 1959. Ironically during the flight the pilot announced “Fidel Castro has marched triumphantly into Havana” The passengers errupted in applause but what the passengers didn’t know was that Juan Trippe, the founder of Pan Am had warned President John F. Kennedy months before that Castro was an avowed Communist and an enemy of the USA.

In 1962, Mr. Friese joined Newsweek at a time when the magazine industry was heavily recruiting advertising agency executives. For the next ten years he served as Corporate Adverting Manager and head of three branch offices; Pittsburgh, Los Angeles and Chicago, the only executive in the history of the magazine to hold these distinctions.
Newsweek, a leading liberal publication whose editorial policies ran counter to many top Republican corporate executives; “The so called Captains of industry” In October 1962, the Cuban Missle crisis between the USA and the Soviet Union over Soviet missiles deployed in Cuba hit the news. It was the closest point to escalation into a full scale nuclear war between the two nations. The news coverage was sparse and Friese captured the moment by installing a Newsweek news ticker in the reknowned Duquesne men’s club in Pittsburgh where most of them dined for lunch. It was a brilliant public relations move that helped to ease tension between democratic Newsweek and the republican captains of the industry. Friese, a life long conservative Republican convinced the corporate “captains” that Newsweek was indeed a worthy news operation.

In 1969, Mr. Friese joined Ziff-Davis Publishing Company beginning his meteoric rise wthin the company from Publisher to President in less than ten years. He served as Publisher of Hotel and Travel Index, Publisher of Travel Weekly, Corporate Senior Vice President, President of the ZD Business Publications Division and finally President of Ziff-Davis Publishing Company. ZD Publishing Company published over 50 consumer magazines and business publications. Friese was an expert in magazine branding and positioning. One of his most notable repositionings was Travel Weekly, a struggling publication that grew in 18 months to become the largest trade publication in the world. Mr. Friese was an acknowledged expert on aviation and government issues and policies.
He retired in 1988 following the sale of Ziff-Davis to NewsCorp and CBS Magazines. Six months later he was a principal in the acquisition of Travel Agent Magazine from Capital Cities Communications serving as President, Publisher and Editorial Director. He repositioned the publication as a newsweekly directed to the travel industry. Over the next ten years he authored over 500 consecutive weekly articles concerning industry affairs, aviation and government issues and interpretation of the news.
Mr Friese served as a guest lecturer at the University of Massachusetts, Cornell University, Niagara University, and advisor to the University of South Carolina developing the Alfred Sloan Foundation School for Travel and Tourism. He served as an advisor to President Clinton on the development of Clinton’s White House Conference on Travel and Tourism. He served on the Board of Directors for the Travel Industry Association of America. He received the HSMI Northwest Airlines first distinguished travel award and was the recipient of ASTA Melva Peterson Award for excellence in journalism. A lifetime golfer, Friese held memberships at the Berwind Country Club, San Juan, Mt. Lebanon Country Club, Pennsylvania, Knollwood Country Club, New York, Lakeside Golf Club of Hollywood, California, Ardsley Country Club, New York, Harbour Ridge Country Club, Palm City, Florida.
An alumnus of New York University, Friese served with the United States Air Force during and after the Korean War. Upon his retirement the Travel Industry Association of America issued the following citation summing up Friese’s worthy contribution: “Whereas Richard P. Friese is a highly regarded expert in the USA travel industry and has dedicated much of his time and effort to promoting industry unity and economic growth by utilizing his considerable communication skills, to bring clarity, consensus and closure to industry issues. TIA honors and commends Richard P. Friese for his passion and dedication for embodying the true sprit of industry volunteerism for the outstanding contributions he has made to the advancement of the travel and tourism industry of the United States of America.”
May beautiful memories of his life comfort all who knew and loved him. For those who wish to remember Dick Friese, gifts in his name may be sent to Special Olympics Connecticut at :
2666 State Street
Suite One
Hamden, CT 06517
Services to be held Sunday, September 19, 2021 at St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Brookfield, CT at 1pm.