Selecting ten of the best

PRWeek's choice of the top public relations professionals in entertainment is a cross section of the industry's elite. It is not intended to serve as an exhaustive list, or indeed as a definition of the most powerful players. But it is testament to the value of demonstrating openness, honesty, and integrity in your professional dealings.

The list was based on a survey of a broad range of entertainment journalists and PR professionals who are familiar with the workings of Hollywood, and the music, film, and TV industries.

Survey respondents were asked to list the "most effective" publicists and rate them according to their honesty and fairness, as well as their ability to achieve tangible and impressive results for their clients.

We asked respondents not only to think about those publicists who enjoy the fruits of working with the biggest names in show business, but also to consider those who have devised and delivered on smart marketing strategies.

Those on the resulting list are not only leaders in their field, but also honest and professional.

The A-list: Hollywood's top publicists

Lauded by the press and their peers for their integrity and their effectiveness, Anita Chabria charts the achievements of Tinseltown's finest PR professionals.

Don't let Ronnie Lippin's Zen-like demeanor fool you: Underneath that California calm is a woman with strong ideas and even stronger ideals.

"I never want to compromise ethical standards," explains Lippin of her approach to public relations. "It can be a lonely road once in a while. We don't accept every client who asks us about representation, and there are some relationships that are relatively short-lived."

While not every client makes the cut at The Lippin Group, which Ronnie Lippin heads with her husband, Richard, the ones that do tend to stick around. With more than three decades of experience in the music industry, Ronnie Lippin has developed long-term relationships with some top rock names. (Eric Clapton has been a client for 25 years.) Lippin credits this loyalty in part to her integrity. More than once, she has talked someone out of a publicity plan when it isn't a good fit for the overall picture.

"I believe that my credibility, and that of my clients, is on the line with every conversation," she explains. "It's easy to pick up the phone and dial away. But when people call me I ask, 'What are your goals? What do you want to achieve by doing this?'"

The Lippins hope to pass on some of their ethical insights to the next generation of publicists by sparking debates at the university level. The couple helped start an ethics program at Brandeis University in Massachusetts and a course at Penn State.

"It no longer matters how people get from point A to point B," explains Lippin of her rationale for reaching out to youth. She uses the proliferation of Napster use by college students as an example: "Essentially they're stealing from a performer," she says of the file-swap service.

Lippin started out in the periphery of the entertainment business, writing film reviews for Parents Magazine, a job she admits was "not something I did particularly well since I was not a parent." She quickly switched to film publicity, and moved from New York to Los Angeles for a job that vaporized by the time she made the trip. Lippin landed on her feet in the publicity department at MCA Records, but left a year later to help Elton John launch his new Rocket Records. After taking a break in the '80s to have a daughter, the Lippins decided to start their own venture -- a decision that put her back at the center of a business she loves.

"For me to be able to go into the office and play music and work with music and musicians is a joy," says Lippin, who plays piano and guitar. "I think music has a special place in peoples' lives."

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