Pat Kingsley has arguably been one of the more high-powered but less visible figures in American entertainment largely because she "decides who gets through to a celebrity and who doesn't". Her career serves as a notable example of the potency that personally handled promotion has acquired in the mass media. Kingsley's rise in the wrangling world of publicity began when she worked as a secretary for Rogers & Cowan, a pioneering firm in the field. Learning the business from the inside out, Kingsley became a press agent and eventually formed her own firm, Pickwick Public Relations, in 1971.
Although partners came and went over the course of the decade, Kingsley remained a constant. The same proved to be the case when she merged Pickwick with rival firm Maslansky & Koenigsberg to form PMK, a name that--despite further changes in the top spots--has held and has become familiar to people in fields from film production and advertising to journalism and finance.
Part of the reason why some have felt that, although PMK is not "the largest publicity firm in the movie business ... it may have the most clout," is the clientele list Kingsley was instrumental in assembling: clients over the years have included Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Sally Field, Robert Redford, Candice Bergen, Raquel Welch, Liza Minnelli, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Demi Moore, Winona Ryder, Tom Hanks, Mary Tyler Moore, Goldie Hawn, Woody Allen, Matthew McConaughey and even the cartoon characters The Simpsons.
Kingsley's approach to PR has been to avoid overexposure; calling herself "Dr. No", she would probably endorse Gypsy Rose Lee's maxim, "don't dump the whole roast on the platter." At the same time, however, Kingsley kept her brassy mettle polished for those times when she would go after a prominent magazine cover while promoting a given film or star. Although she has been involved with publicity campaigns for films such as "Big" and "The Milagro Beanfield War" (both 1988), Kingsley's greatest attention is devoted to her star clients, who value her for exalting their talents while fiercely guarding their private lives. This carefully controlled management style has enabled Kingsley to carve a niche for herself amidst the morass of media marketing.