Veteran book publicist Russell Perreault died on Saturday. The executive director of publicity and social media for Penguin Random House's Vintage Anchor imprint, who had been with the unit for 25 years, was 52.
In a message from Vintage Anchor publisher Anne Messitte, Perreault was hailed as an "exuberant, funny, precocious, smart" man with "an infectious enthusiasm for books and authors." Messitte went on to note that Perreault worked with "hundreds" of authors in his time at PRH, including such literary heavyweights as Joan Didion, Maxine Hong Kingston, Jhumpa Lahiri, Erik Larson and Robert Caro. And, working at a paperback division in Vintage Anchor, Messitte added that Perreault always brought "a front-list mentality to backlist publishing; he was quick to both act on and develop opportunities in the market."
In addition to his publicity work, Perreault maintained a heavy hand in the PRH imprint's social media presence; according to Messitte, he managed over 300 Facebook pages for authors and literary estates. Perreault was, in fact, the face behind the Facebook accounts of, among others,William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, Leo Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, Mark Twain, Plato and Socrates. Messitte said Perreault's "personally curated Vintage Anchor Facebook page became one of the largest social platforms in adult publishing."
Speaking to his personal life—Perreault lived in New Milford, Conn., with his husband Reed Maroc, where the pair restored a historic local home—Messitte said "Russell’s devotion to family, friends, and life in New Milford was legendary." She went on: "During his work weeks in New York, Russell pursued his passions for theater and film, and, without fail, his commitment to workouts in the pool and at the gym—his preternatural fitness shamed us all. So did his wry wit and command of industry gossip. Time spent in Russell’s company was always great fun, and it’s hard to imagine our publishing group and the industry he loved without him."
E.L. James, whose Fifty Shades trilogy Perreault worked on and helped launch into a global publishing sensation, called Perreault a "dear and trusted friend." She added that he was "loyal, articulate, and cultured, with a wicked sense of humor. I adored him, and I am heartbroken that he’s no longer with us."