Owner/Ad Exec Papert Dies at 89

Fred Papert died May 20 in his hometown of New York City

Renowned New York advertising agency owner and long-time horse owner Fred Papert passed last month in New York City at the age of 89.

Papert was a fixture for decades at the New York Racing Association tracks as both an owner and horseplayer. He was a regular at the Turf and Field club in its heyday, and made annual pilgrimages to Saratoga Race Course, often to see his horses race, according family and friends.

Among the many successful runners competing for his Sugartown Stable were stakes winners Sing Sing, Uncle Ho, Second Glance, and stakes-placed Dinner Gong and Dressed to Kill. Bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. Robert L. Green, Sing Sing in particular was well known to New York fans. The versatile son of Stop the Music won or placed in 11 graded stakes at Belmont Park and Aqueduct Racetrack from 1981-1983, getting victories in the Grey Lag Handicap and the Stymie Handicap (both gr. III) and finishing second in the grade I Brooklyn and Suburban handicaps. He also won the grade II Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park

Sing Sing was first trained by Victor "Lefty" Nickerson and then by Allen Jerkens, who trained a number of stakes horses for Papert and Sugartown. Others who trained for the stable include George Weaver and John Ward.

Papert was also prominent in New York City business and civic circles. A partner in the pioneering 1960s advertising agency Papert, Koenig, Lois, he created and led the 42nd Street Development Corp., a non-profit largely responsible for the revitalization of the Times Square area. He also was a key figure in the preservation and rebirth of Grand Central Terminal, an endeavour for which he enlisted the aid of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, among others.

According to a New York Times obituary, one of P.K.L.'s first clients was Xerox. The agency promoted the ease of using the first plain paper copier by having a chimpanzee operate it. Papert and his partners were paid, in part, with Xerox stock and reportedly made a fortune. The firm also produced the first television ads for Robert F. Kennedy's 1964 U.S. Senate campaign.

By 1967, the agency had more than 200 employees and $40 million in billings.