Liz Perle, who served as publisher of William Morrow, among other top level positions across publishing houses, died August 20 at the age of 59. She had been living with breast cancer for more than eight years.
Perle began her career in 1981 as the associate marketing director at Times Books, and shortly afterward became the marketing manager for a new hardcover line at Bantam Books. She eventually became an associate publisher for hardcover and paperback publishing at Bantam, where among other accomplishments she created the marketing plan for Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time and acquired and edited such non-fiction works as Free to Be…A Family by Marlo Thomas.
In 1988, at the age of 32, Perle was named v-p and publisher at Prentice Hall Press, a division of Simon & Schuster and In 1991, Perle became v-p and publisher at Addison-Wesley Publishers. She closed out her New York publishing career as v-p and publisher at William Morrow and Avon Books.
Perle moved to San Francisco and became editor-at-large at HarperSan Francisco Publishers. During her time there, she worked with a wide variety of authors including Sidney Poitier, Jane Goodall, Melody Beattie, Tim Berners Lee and Arthur Hertzberg.
In addition to her publishing accomplishments, Perle was the author of When Work Doesn’t Work Anymore: Women, Work and Identity (Delacorte Press, 1997) and Money: A Memoir (Henry Holt, 2006). In 2002, Perle, together with Jim Steyer, co-founded nonprofit organization Common Sense Media, which provides information about media and entertainment for children, parents, educators, policymakers and others.
In 2013, Perle appeared in the Emmy-nominated HBO documentary film 50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus, which was produced and directed by Steven Pressman, Perle's husband. The film tells the previously unknown story of Perle's maternal grandparents, Gilbert and Eleanor Kraus, who rescued 50 Jewish children from Nazi-occupied Vienna and brought them to the United States in 1939.
In addition to her husband, Perle is survived by her son David Perle McKenna and her stepdaughter Roshann Pressman.