FUTURES Mourns the Passing of Marsha Robertson
Director of Communications, Futures Without Violence
Marsha Robertson, a beloved marketing executive and public relations professional, passed away on Wednesday, March 14 in San Francisco, California. Known for her grace, eloquence, humor, and deep devotion to her family, friends, and craft, Robertson worked with many of the entertainment industry’s high profile filmmakers, actors and companies in a career spanning more than four decades.
Robertson was born on July 23, 1954 in Menominee Falls, Wisconsin. After receiving a Communications degree from Stanford, she began her entertainment career at various public relations agencies including ICPR and Kramer & Reese. She left the agency business for a position at MGM, where she rose through the ranks to VP of Publicity. In the 80s and 90s, Robertson worked as a unit publicist on more than twenty major motion pictures. Her credits include “Top Gun,” “Jurassic Park,” “The Hunt for Red October,” “Good Morning Vietnam,” “Beverly Hills Cop II,” “Back to the Future,” “That Thing You Do!,” “Quiz Show,” and “The Game.”
She went on to serve as director of media relations at HBO in New York. In 2004, Robertson joined her longtime friend and colleague Leslee Dart as the first employee of the Dart Group, a start-up public relations firm that evolved into the PR powerhouse 42West. While at the firm, she teamed with Dart to represent clients including Tom Hanks, Jonathan Demme, and Noah Baumbach, and managed campaigns for films including “The Producers,” “The Interpreter,” and “The Squid and The Whale.”
In 2007 Robertson moved to northern California and held several positions, including account director at the San Francisco firm Landis Communications and director of communications for the Walt Disney Family Museum. She found her true calling in 2011 when she joined Futures Without Violence, a leading national non-profit dedicated to preventing and ending violence against women and children. She was integral to the organization’s realization of a bold new vision, including plans for a world-class immersive learning center and public exhibit. She helped create a series of compelling events and workshops, and new and critical partnerships. With her background in the film industry, Robertson’s wise counsel on the intersection of popular culture, social action, and storytelling was not just valuable to the organization – it was also where she thrived. She loved her work and helped advance a movement where women’s stories and voices now permeate every aspect of our culture.
Robertson is survived by her husband of 20 years, Jacob Young, a magazine editor and media consultant; her brother Jim and his wife Tammy Robertson of Oklahoma City; and the many devoted friends that she met at every job she worked, every place she traveled, and every party she attended. Robertson and Young lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 12 years, most recently Mill Valley, California.
A memorial is scheduled at Futures Without Violence for April 14. For more information, contact Rachael Smith Fals at (415) 678-5602.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to FUTURES here.