Posts Tagged ‘irving cummings jr’

Obit…Patricia Rees Cummings

Monday, July 14th, 2008




Patricia Rees Cummings (WGA / Leroy Hamilton) 


Former Writers Guild Foundation Executive Director Patricia Rees Cummings died in Bristol, England, on July 8, 2008, after a long battle with lung cancer. She was 76.


Born and educated in the United Kingdom, Cummings began her professional career as press secretary to several British Members of Parliament, worked briefly for Peter Sellers, then headed the PR agency team which opened the first overseas U.S. Trade Center in London and promoted its initial exhibitions for the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Agriculture. In New York, at the same agency’s Madison Avenue headquarters, her clients included the European Common Market and the Bordeaux Wine Information Bureau.


For a two-year period after her stay in New York, Patricia worked as marketing director and sales manager at a dude ranch near Casper, Wyoming, a time in her life which she always remembered with much fondness.


Moving to Los Angeles, Patricia worked with Disney, Cal Arts, KCET, and other non-profit clients before becoming vice president at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in 1971. Around this time she married screenwriter and producer Irving Cummings, Jr., with whom she shared a major in interest in horses and horse racing.


For Arts Center College she helped to raise $10 million for the college’s new Pasadena campus, opened in 1976, and also staged Carrozzeria Italiana, a major international automotive design exhibition sponsored by Fiat. In 1980, she was appointed to head the planning, funding, marketing, and establishment of Art Center’s European campus in Vevey, Switzerland. There she successfully raised $5 million in start-up sponsorship funds from major corporations throughout Europe and persuaded local authorities to spend 8.6 million Swiss francs to renovate the campus site, an existing chateau overlooking Lake Geneva.


Returning to London from Switzerland in 1986, Patricia was development/marketing consultant for the opening of Sir Terrance Conran’s new Design Museum and was appointed Director of the 12,000-member Chartered Society of Designers, the world’s largest professional design organization. She represented the Society at design conferences in Edinburgh, Hong Kong, and Japan and was elected a Fellow of the elite Royal Society in 1988. She was a past VP of the PR Society of America. 


Patricia and her husband returned to Los Angeles in 1991, where she began working with the Writers Guild Foundation in March 1993. As Executive Director, she oversaw the development of a large slate of foundation programs, including the Words into Pictures Conference, as well as the fundraising for and building of the Shavelson-Webb Library, which opened in June 2005. Irving Cummings Jr. died in 1996, and Patricia retired to return to live in the UK in August 2005.


She is survived by her stepdaughter, Caroline Fawcett of Chicago, IL, and her sister, Jenny Millbank, her nephew Ben, and niece Hannah, all of Bristol.


The family has requested that memorial donations be made to the Writers Guild Foundation, 7000 West Third Street, Los Angeles, CA 90048 (in the U.S.), or to St Peter’s Hospice, Charlton Road, Brentry, Bristol BS10 6NL (in the UK).




Jimmy and Pat


I first met Pat Cummings about eight or nine years ago (I think) when Jimmy Bangley worked at the Writers Guild Foundation and she was his boss. Many times I would pick Jimmy up at the Guild and during that time I got the chance to visit with Pat and the other “girls” and enjoyed their interactions. Jimmy had a talent for impersonations and one of his best was of Pat Cummings. All he had to say was “Good heavens,” and everyone knew who it was. Once when one of my books was published, I went to the guild and Pat had them open a bottle of champagne to celebrate; I always remembered that. Pat was a very interesting, amusing and fun lady. Tidge it up Pat!

— Allan Ellenberger