S&H Cofounder Dies

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The Sudler & Hennessey family is saddened to report that one of its cofounders, Matt Hennessey, died of cancer at the age of 95 on April 19, 2011.

Matthew Joseph Hennessey was born on June 6, 1916, in Brooklyn, New York. Matt began his art career in 1936, working with Arthur Sudler in his graphic design studio where Sudler set up shop with E. R. Squibb and Sons as his charter client. Five years later, they founded Sudler and Hennessey, with Matt as President and Art as Chairman.

As an astute business man and a strong judge of creative talent, Matt hired some of the best and brightest art directors, including George Lois, Helmut Krone, Ernie Smith, Herb Lubalin, Charles Addams, Ronald Searle, and Andy Warhol. Matt was a believer in the power of visual communication, and it was with Matt and Art at the helm when the original and iconic NBC peacock was created by S&H.

After serving in the Army during World War II, Matt returned to the agency and, in 1953, made the decision to focus on the pharmaceutical industry. By 1968, S&H was the largest medical agency and held that distinction for more than 20 years. After Art Sudler passed away, Sudler & Hennessey became part of Young & Rubicam, now with a network that spans the globe. Matt was inducted into the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame in 1998.

“Matt retired in 1984, but his legacy to the business world lives on. His vision helped to lay the foundation for the success S&H enjoys today on a global scale,” said Jed Beitler, Chairman and CEO Worldwide.

Matt and his first wife of 55 years, Julia Dunn Hennessey, raised their two daughters, Maureen and Rosemary, in northern New Jersey and, in the early 1970s, began visiting John’s Island in Florida. Matt loved boating, gardening, and the adventure of building and decorating multiple houses. Julia passed away in 1998, and Matt later married Virginia “Sissy” Brophy; together, they shared 10 loving years, traveling around the world.

Matt was a creative genius who was admired by family and friends for his wit, generosity, integrity, love of life, and indomitable spirit. He is survived by his loving wife, Virginia Catherine; his children Maureen Murdock and Rosemary McGlynn (Denis); his grandchildren, Brendan and Heather Murdock, and Julianne and Cristin McGlynn; and his great grandchildren, Ella and Gillian Gardner.

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