Howard Kaminsky, a "brash and witty" publisher who held high-level positions at Warner Books, Random House and Hearst, died August 26, the New York Times reported. He was 77.
During his tenure at Warner Books (which eventually became Grand Central, part of Hachette), Kaminsky worked with authors such as Richard Simmons, John Naisbitt, Andrew Greeley, Judith Krantz and Nelson DeMille, but was perhaps best known for signing Richard Nixon to a book deal just six weeks after he resigned from the presidency. And during his three years as publisher and CEO at Random House, starting in 1984, Kaminsky was instrumental in signing The Art of the Deal by Donald J. Trump (and Tony Schwartz), though he reportedly "came to be unhappy about having published Mr. Trump's books." Kaminsky joined Hearst Corporation's trade publishing group after being forced out from Random House due to differences with the company's chairman, Robert Bernstein. He worked at Hearst until 1994, when he left publishing in order to care for his wife Susan Kaminsky, who "had been found to have non-Hodgkin's lymphoma" (she passed away in 2008).
Kaminsky was also an author; he co-wrote five novels with his wife and published a police procedural of his own called Angel Wings in 2013.