He was 94-years-of age of complications from Parkinson's disease, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.
“I remember Allan well,” said fellow Philadelphia adman Elliott Curson. “He was a dynamo in the business. A great people person with an amazing mind for marketing. He could sell anything.”
After selling the agency to Earle Palmer Brown in 1984, Mr. Kalish advised Fortune 500 companies on sales and marketing strategies.
In 2002, he and partner Rick Mosenkis launched WorkZone, a software company that allows ad agencies and other firms to manage projects with clients online.
Kalish was successful, Mosenkis said, because of the way he interacted with people. “He was a great listener. He thought bigger for CEOs than they did for themselves. Helping people was his greatest joy.”
Born in Pittsburgh, he never knew his father. Until age 11, he lived in a farmhouse across the Allegheny River from Kittanning. “Depression home with 16 adults, and me, and only one bathroom,” he blogged.
He graduated from high school in Reading, where his mother had moved, and enrolled in Lafayette College. He served in World War II for 30 months, including at the Battle of the Bulge, and was honorably discharged before turning 21.
He started his career in sales at Philadelphia Magazine and in 1954 turned to broadcasting at WCAU Radio. “In his heart, he was always a radio man,” his family said.
“Ended up in the ad agency business & loved it,” he blogged in 2012.
Mr. Kalish was a former president of the Philadelphia Advertising Club and was inducted into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame in 1994.