Shelter Island advertising executive Richard J. Tarlow dies at 81
Richard J. Tarlow, a famous New York publicist known for his work with Revlon, Ralph Lauren, Cuisinart, Pottery Barn and Vanderbilt perfume, died May 27 at his home on Shelter Island. Tarlow, 81, died peacefully in his sleep with his wife Kristin Kehrberg by his side. He was the heart of his family and is survived by his wife and three children Jordan, Wendy and Cody; two stepsons Jonah and Lukas; and five grandchildren Annabelle, Ryder, Logan, Bo and Truly.
Always committed to making the world fair and just, Mr. and Mrs. Tarlow were staunch supporters of the John Jay College and the John Jay Justice Awards. One of Tarlow’s proudest moments was joining Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Richard Branson and Peter Gabriel in The Elders, a group of independent world leaders whose goal was to work together for peace and human rights. ‘man. Tarlow has acted globally as well as locally. He saw the potential in people and worked to help them realize it by quietly helping a number of students pay for their education.
Tarlow was born to Ted and Min Tarlow in the Bronx, then grew up in New Rochelle alongside his brother Alan (now deceased). While in New Rochelle High School, Tarlow proved a gifted athlete and attended the University of North Carolina on a baseball and basketball scholarship before graduating from Tufts University in 1962.
Tarlow began his storied advertising career as a copywriter with the Martin Landey/Arlow agency. He rose through the ranks in advertising and after serving as executive vice president and creative director of Daniel & Charles, he and fellow publicist Don Kurtz established Kurtz & Tarlow in 1977, which Advertising Age called a growth agency. fastest in the country. They oversaw Ralph Lauren’s successful expansion of Polo Fashions into an Americana icon and established Ralph Lauren Home Furnishings Inc. in 1982. Kurtz & Tarlow was sold to Geers Gross in 1983 where Tarlow served as president.
Fiercely independent, Tarlow took the leap again to found Tarlow Advertising in 1988. His bet paid off and Tarlow Advertising became another of Madison Avenue’s fastest growing agencies with $50 million in billings in just a year and a half. Tarlow Advertising’s clients included Revlon and its subsidiaries Ultima and Almay. An account close to Tarlow’s heart was Topps Chewing Gum, maker of the famous baseball cards.
Additionally, Tarlow co-founded Carlson and Partners with his (now deceased) wife Sandy Carlson, where he oversaw clients including Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret and Neutrogena.
After retiring from advertising, Tarlow pursued his many passions. He created the chic Sunset Beach Restaurant and Hotel on Shelter Island with André Balazs, and authored the 2016 off-Broadway play. The trial of an American president. He and Kehrberg were executive producers of The Wild Marriagea 2017 film starring Glen Close, John Malkovich, Patrick Stewart and Minnie Driver.
His love of the sport never left him, he and his wife would often sit courtside watching his beloved New York Knicks. Richard Tarlow was a colorful, cloak-and-dagger figure who left everyone in his wake better off to have known him.
Shelter Island Funeral Home serves the family.