Gerald Berger was born in St. Louis, son to Julius Berger and Rae Cohen. He has Hungarian ancestry on his father’s side and British-Russian ancestry on his mother’s side. He graduated from Soldan-Blewett High School in St. Louis. His career ambition was to be a pharmacist.
Just barely out of his teens, Berger was employed by the local branch of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as a booker of films, while simultaneously entering management at the local Loew’s Theatres. Subsequently, he joined20th Century-Fox Film Corporation as Midwest advertising-publicity manager. His career then took off, when he became one of five young employees chosen by company chairman Darryl F. Zanuck to train as future leaders of the company.
The launch-pad for Berger was an appointment as advertising publicity manager of 20th Fox’s far-flung operations in the Republic of South Africa, the Rhodesias and East Africa. He headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. After some time, he returned to the states to fill a marketing position at 20th Fox’s New York headquarters. He eventually accepted an offer of a marketing position with Paramount Pictures. He worked both in New York and Hollywood. His marketing expertise was employed on such motion pictures as “Barefoot in the Parkand Otto Preminger’s “Hurry, Sundown and “Advise and Consent. Berger also worked with legendary producer Hal Wallis on “Becket”. However, Berger struck up a close friendship with Otto Preminger, who once visited Berger, when the latter returned to St. Louis.
He was also a press agent & publicist with such personalities as Joan Crawford, Rock Hudson, Leonard Bernstein, Liza Minnelli, Arthur Rubinstein, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Betty Grable, Vincent Price, Charlton Heston , Rudolf Nureyev among others.
In 1968, Berger returned to St. Louis, where he joined the 12,000-seat Municipal Opera as operations director. Ten years later, he accepted the position as people columnist with the now-defunct St. Louis Globe-Democrat. After the newspaper folded, he joined the Pulitzers’ St. Louis-Post Dispatch, where he continued to write daily columns and features for 24 years, while sporadically broadcasting entertainment reviews on television and Hollywood gossip on KMOX Radio, the CBS affiliate.
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