Judy Corman, the wife of best-selling author Avery Corman and the head publicist for Scholastic Inc., which releases the Harry Potter novels in the United States, died of cancer Monday. She was 65.
Mrs. Corman, whose warm, querulous voice sounded more than a little like Mike Myers' Linda Richman character from "Saturday Night Live," was the main contact for reporters eager for news about the Potter phenomenon. Hers was an overwhelming task she handled with sympathy, occasional bewilderment and an endearing reluctance to craft clever sound bites.
A native of Brooklyn, Mrs. Corman began her long career in the entertainment industry in the 1960s, when she worked as a publicist with Epic Records. Her clients included Miles Davis, John Denver and Willie Nelson. She also served as public relations director for Phoenix House, the drug abuse treatment agency, and worked on several accounts for the communications firm Robinson, Lerer & Montgomery.
She joined Scholastic in 1999 as senior vice president of corporate communications. Two years later, she received a New York Women in Communications Matrix Award in Public Relations, presented by writer-director Nora Ephron, a longtime friend.