Edelman also hired baseball great Nolan Ryan for Advil and activist Gloria Steinem to promote birth control pills.
Then, his son said, he would "put people on the road" — pushing the concept of media tours using radio and television.
And Daniel Edelman had a sense of humor.
Promoting a crabmeat company, he persuaded Carson to invite the owner on his show — along with a crab that promptly bit the TV host's hand.
When former Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis announced he was running for president, Edelman proved that Morris the Cat, representing the 9Lives cat food brand, had higher name recognition.
Kentucky Fried Chicken took center stage on TV during Elizabeth Taylor's lavish 1991 wedding to construction worker Larry Fortensky. Reporters were barred from the ceremony, so Edelman arranged for a KFC executive to show up outside dressed as the late Colonel Sanders, serving reporters chicken they jokingly mentioned during broadcasts.
"You can't make these stories up," Richard Edelman said. "My father had these kinds of ideas."
Even after Daniel Edelman stopped running the firm more than a dozen years ago, he still called his son daily to find out what was happening and give advice.
A private funeral is planned for Wednesday at the Riverside Memorial Chapel in Manhattan, followed by burial at Mount Hebron Cemetery in Queens.