Veteran journalist Pamela Susan Altman Brown, whose career included stints at WWD’s brother publication DNR as well as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and GQ, died on Aug. 27 in Florida, where she had been living for the past several years.
Altman Brown had battled cancer several times in recent years. In July, she posted on her social media that she was a seven-time cancer survivor and had been dealing with the disease and its effects since 1962, when her mother died of it. However, it was while she was in a hospital in Florida that she contracted COVID-19, according to posts on her Facebook page, which is what ultimately took her life.
One of her longtime friends posted on her Facebook page that she passed “after a very long battle with cancer and finally COVID-19. She was a force in our world and, in our lives, a grand friend of long duration to many. It is hard to think of our lives minus one of the rare ‘broads’ who always kept it real. Over the last 50 years we sure had a ball,” wrote Michael Borden.
Priscilla Whitley-Matthews, who had been friends with Altman Brown since high school, wrote: “From freshman year in high school until our last conversation, only days ago, Pammie Sue was the funniest person I’ve ever known. Just today I’ve thought of 10 things we could laugh about. She was my truest friend…there were ups and downs, through these 60 years, but we were never far away from each other.”
Richard Buckley, a fashion journalist who worked with Altman Brown at DNR, where he served as European editor before joining WWD, said, “I know the phrase ‘full of life’ is a cliche, but of all the people in my life, Pamela was the one who was always the most full of life. She made working together a celebration and a party no matter how serious the assignment. She once told me, ‘Remember, breathe in and breathe out.…It’s all we get.’ She believed that and lived each moment to the fullest. Ahh, the stories I could tell.”
Altman Brown, known as Pammie to her friends, grew up in Hillsdale, N.J., according to an obituary prepared by Whitley-Matthews. She moved to New York City in 1970 after college and worked as assistant fashion editor at True Magazine. She then joined GQ and worked her way up to fashion editor, at which point “her life became immersed in the New York fashion world. Each year she attended Fashion Week in Paris and Milan, while countless photo shoots took her throughout Europe and beyond. She became quite fluent in Italian and loved Italy for its art, its culture and, of course, its sumptuous food. Without any formal training Pamela became an accomplished cook.”
She joined Vogue as a fashion editor, where she was responsible for producing the Vogue Seminar biannually and helped orchestrate special events including 100 Years at Vogue, the first Kids for Kids Pediatric AIDS benefit and many in-store events, according to an online post. She also spent six years overseeing the Between the Lines column at DNR.
Following her departure from editorial, she opened Altman Communications, a public relations agency. However, once cancer began to impact her life, she relocated to Florida in search of a quieter existence.
“Pamela was funny. Her mind grasped the funny. Clever, smart, and sharp, her humor drew others to her,” Whitley-Matthews said. “So many branded her the funniest person they ever knew. Though, sometimes a little wickedness was thrown in, oh you better be on your toes.”
She is survived by her husband Daniel Brown. Her death occurred on their 32nd wedding anniversary.
Donations can be made in her name to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 676910, Dallas, TX 75267-6910. And sympathy notes can be mailed to Daniel Brown, 1427 Hollyberry Place, The Villages, Fla., 32162.