We have yet another sad report. From the information about him, he sounds like someone that will not only be missed, but will be in many thoughts and prayers for a long time. KENNETH MILLS, President of the Broadcast Promotion Association in 1975-76, now PROMAX&BDA, died August 4 at 83. His entire life, Mills was a political activist and a fixture at political meetings of all sorts. He was known to friends as “the petition king.” For decades, he was a New York City East Side political stalwart who was executive producer of New York City ’s Community Board 8’s cable show, “CB 8 Speaks”.
Mills worked on the campaigns of Rep. and then Mayor Ed Koch, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, and City Council Speaker Gifford Miller. A long-time resident of the silk stocking district, Mills served as a Democratic district leader between 1969 and 1978, and was president of the Lexington Democratic Club in the 1960s and again from 1995-2000. He was a delegate to the Democratic presidential conventions in 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, and 1996.
In 1994, using his political connections and his marketing savvy, he coordinated the Press Room for the PROMAX & BDA International Conference in Washington , DC putting together rock and roll maverick Todd Rundgren and House Speaker Newt Gingrich into an unlikely duo photo opportunity.
His career spanned his many interests. He served as Vice President of Communications from the Katz Media Group in New York City from the 1960s through the 1980s. Between his political stints, he also worked as a Vice President for press relations at the Chase Manhattan Bank, retiring in 1994.
Besides his political activism, Mills was a good friend to many including the author Helene Hanff, author of 84 Charing Cross Road , made into two movies “The Little Shop Around the Corner” and “You’ve Got Mail”. He and Hanff corresponded for years.
Mill’s father was one of the original investors in “The Fantastiks” the world’s longest running musical which premiered off-Broadway on May 3, 1960. Records show that the original production budget was about $900 on the set and $541 on costumes at a time when major Broadway shows would spend $1-2 million on sets, props, and costumes. The original set designer, costumer, prop master, and lighting designer performed all four jobs for a total of only $480 plus $24.48 a week.
Mills was appreciative of the regular, but small, check he would routinely receive from his father’s original investment for a period of nearly 50 years. A graduate of Choate Academy , Mills graduated from Princeton University .
A memorial celebration of his life will be held Saturday, September 29, 2007 at The Princeton Club on New York . Contributions may be made in his name to The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research www.michaeljfox.org or The National Parkison Foundation, Inc. www.parkinson.org.
He is survived by two daughters and a son and grandchildren.