her Life

OBITUARY

VICTORIA ARTHUR
Sadly, Vicki Arthur passed away on Wednesday, January 22, not far from her home in Sherman Oaks, California. After too many physical and medical challenges to count, her loving heart – along with her infectious laugh and her warm, caring presence – simply stopped.

Vicki was a child of Hollywood from the moment she was born, in Beverly Hills in 1947. Her mother, Jessica Pepper Arthur, had twice been voted Prettiest Showgirl on Broadway, before moving to Los Angeles and meeting Vicki’s father, Art Arthur.

Art was a reporter who had left Toronto to be a columnist for the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, then broke into Hollywood by writing the screenplay for Charlie Chan on Broadway for 20th Century Fox. His many credits included Sun Valley Serenade and The Fabulous Dorseys. While serving in the Army during World War II, Art wrote the screenplay for the Oscar winning documentary Seeds of Destiny, about post war relief efforts in Europe. The film raised more than $200,000,000 in donations for what would later become the United Nations and UNICEF. Art then worked closely with Cecil B. DeMille (Vicki’s godfather) on The Ten Commandments. Art moved to television to become head writer on “Sea Hunt,” “Flipper,” “Gentle Ben,” and many other features and series for Ivan Tors Productions.

After growing up calling Bert Lahr “Uncle Bert,” sitting on the knees of Bob Hope, Jimmy Durante and Charlton Heston, and baby sitting for Marlon Brando’s son, it isn’t surprising that Vicki followed in her father’s footsteps. She did some acting while still in high school, appearing in some Elvis and Beach Blanket movies, and later starring in the low budget feature Dirty Feet. 

But Vicki’s primary show biz career soon became publicity. She was hired on staff or as a unit publicist by every major studio and TV network, and among countless others, worked on “Bonanza,” Carney, and The Stunt Man, with stars including Barbra Streisand, Lee Marvin, Lucille Ball, Sylvester Stallone, Jodie Foster and Peter O’Toole. 

Vicki became the youngest woman ever admitted into the Publicist’s Guild of America, and was later elected its Vice President.

In the midst of her work in film and television, Vicki also worked for KISS radio and Sherwood Oaks Experimental College film school. And in an attempt to get away from the Hollywood hustle, she moved to Grass Valley, California. There she pursued the somewhat less glamorous occupations of panning for gold and working in a factory that made Smiley Face buttons. Ah, the Sixties… 

In 1990 Vicki opened her own firm, Vicki Arthur Public Relations, representing actors, production companies and authors. This was when she guided her longest running (and favorite) client, Hector Elizondo, to his Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination for Pretty Woman, and his Best Supporting Actor Emmy for the TV series “Chicago Hope.”

Along with the great creativity, persuasion and integrity Vicki brought to her publicity campaigns, the strength of Vicki’s work (and life) was her ability to connect personally with all those she worked with, and to brighten their days with her immediate warmth, positivity, empathy and friendship.

As long and varied as her PR career was, Vicki’s greatest passion and joy came as an artist. She began making jewelry in her twenties, then went on to sculpture, watercolors, and finally acrylic painting. Her expressionistic work has been widely exhibited, and is included in the private collections of Muhammad Ali, Magic Johnson, Billy Crystal and Hector Elizondo. 

In 1975, standing in line to see JAWS, Vicki met her husband, Michael Hauge, who had just arrived in LA from Oregon in the hope of working in Hollywood. Rumor has it that she felt so sorry for his mismatched wardrobe, poor prospects and complete lack of cool that she went out with him out of pity. But something must have clicked, and after a whirlwind courtship of only ten years, they were married, and he’s been by her side ever since.

Vicki adored animals, as evidenced by the three dogs and twelve cats – all rescues – that she and Michael adopted over the years. Passersby and visitors always admired the yard and garden she kept beautiful, as well as all the antiques and mementoes and family heirlooms that made her home warm and inviting. Some people (Michael) might have occasionally regarded these items as clutter, but to Vicki they were all treasures. 

For more than 44 years, Vicki and Michael shared a love of movies, and television, and Christmas. But their favorite time of all was when they vacationed at the beach houses that they rented – first in Oxnard and then in Cayucos – every summer since 1984.

Along with Michael and their dog Lucy, Vicki is survived by her sister, Pamela St. Laurent, her nephews Brian Mathews and Kevin Mathews, her niece Kelly Suarez, and more relatives, friends and loved ones than you can shake a stick at. They all mourn her passing, and once the pain of their loss passes, all will remember her with a grateful smile.