Thursday, November 5, 2015

Freeman Fisher Gosden, Jr. Obituary

It is not uncommon for celebrity deaths to fly under the radar. But that is exactly what happened this past week when Freeman Fisher Gosden, Jr. of Santa Barbara, California, passed away October 26, 2015, at Casa Dorinda, his home for the last 14 years. He was predeceased in August 2015 by his wife of 60 years, Dorothy (Paxton) Gosden.

Freeman was one of four children to Freeman Gosden, the same actor remembered today as half the team of radio's Amos and Andy program. Freeman Jr. was born in Chicago in 1928 to Leta Marie (Schreiber) and Freeman Gosden, and attended the Latin School for Boys. The family moved to Beverly Hills, CA, in 1934, where he attended Hawthorne School. He went on to Culver Military Academy (Indiana) and Princeton University, where he graduated in 1950 with a B.A. in economics. He served as a 1st Lieutenant in the US Army.

Gosden's career in radio was obvious with the influence of his father's participation. While employed in the oil business in Odessa and Midland, Texas, Freeman contracted polio. He returned to Los Angeles to recover and continued began working in the advertising business at Young and Rubicam, BBDO, and Rexall Drug and Chemical Co. After serving as president of Market Compilation and Research Bureau, Freeman became a partner in Smith-Hemmings-Gosden, a pioneer advertising agency in direct marketing, which later merged into Foote, Cone and Belding. He grew the business from the 16th largest direct marketer in the world to the third largest. He retired as chairman of FCB Direct Marketing Worldwide, which included 33 direct marketing operations in 14 countries.

Freeman Jr.'s father at work on radio's Amos and Andy.

During his career Freeman created the original frequent flyer program and founded Me Books, selling over one million personalized children's books in its first two years, making the series one of the country's largest selling children's books. He taught direct marketing educational sessions at over 120 colleges and corporations, resulting in his being named Direct Marketing Educational Association's Man of the Year. He served as the association's vice chair and was active in local marketing clubs. His book, Direct Marketing: What Works and Why, sold over 100,000 copies and was printed in four languages. He served as a columnist for AdWeek and was best known for his yearly analysis in Direct Marketing Magazine of mail order catalogs to improve catalog efficiency. He served as a consultant to Williams-Sonoma, Shell Oil, Lionel Trains and the National Stuttering Association. He was president of The Beach Club, Santa Monica, CA, and a member of the board of the Santa Barbara Symphony.

He is survived by his daughters Lee Curtis Gosden and Jill Gosden Pollock (Gordon Lee), his grandchildren Katherine and Henry Pollock, his sister Virginia Jackson, his stepmother Jane Gosden, his half-brother Craig Gosden, and his half-sister Linda Gosden Robinson.

Services were private.