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Updated 12-03-10 6:47 PM for funeral services

Joe Cerrell, an icon of Southern California politics for decades as campaign manager and public relations consultant, died Friday of pneumonia following a brief illness. He was 75.

Over five decades, Cerrell was involved in dozens of Democratic campaigns from president to local office and founded Cerrell Associates, a Los Angeles firm. Hal Dash, his long-time associate who has been the firm's CEO in recent years, said, "We are deeply saddened to announce that our company co-founder, mentor, political legend and friend Joe Cerrell passed away this morning in Camarillo following a brief bout with pneumonia. His family was at his side to say goodbye."

Cerrell became involved in politics as a student at the University of California in the 1950s, founding a campus Democratic club and teaming up with another USC student, the late Jesse Unruh, who later became speaker of the Assembly and state treasurer.

Cerrell was an aide on Pat Brown's 1958 campaign for governor and at Brown's behest took over management of the state Democratic Party. He met his wife, Lee Bullock, while working on the Brown campaign.

Services for Cerrell will be held Monday at 10:30 a.m. at Christ the King Catholic Church, 624 N. Rossmore Ave., Los Angeles. Cerrell Associates, meanwhile, has established an archive on his career that can be accessed here.


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