LOS ANGELES - Legendary Hollywood press agent Warren Cowan, who represented stars such as Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra, has died. He was 87.

In a statement, his firm, Warren Cowan & Associates, said he died Wednesday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital, three weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

The jovial Cowan, known for working the press lines at awards shows and other events, was still actively promoting clients in his office on Tuesday.

In February, for example, he issued a statement for Newman humorously denying rumors about Newman's "failing health."

The actor said doctors "have been treating me for athlete's foot and hair loss."

Cowan and his mentor, Henry C. Rogers, founded Rogers & Cowan in 1950 and saw it become one of the world's biggest entertainment public-relations firms. Among its stable of celebrity clients were Danny Kaye, Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Shirley Mac-

Laine, Roberto Benigni and Elton John.

In 1988, Rogers & Cowan was sold to the British conglomerate Shandwick PLC. Cowan set up his new company, Warren Cowan & Associates, six years later. Rogers died in 1995 at age 82.

According to a biography from his firm, Cowan was moonlighting as a publicist for actress Linda Darnell (the beautiful brunette in "The Mark of Zorro" and "Forever Amber") while studying journalism at UCLA. He joined up with Rogers in 1946, following his graduation.

He was born in New York in 1921. Famed Daily Variety columnist Army Archerd was his friend from childhood. His father, Rubey Cowan, and brother Stanley were both songwriters; Stanley Cowan was also later a publicist in his brother's firm.

Cowan was married to Barbara Gilbert-Cowan, mother of actresses Melissa and Sara Gilbert and actor Jonathan Gilbert. He had two daughters from previous marriages: Fox News reporter Claudia Cowan, from his marriage to actress Barbara Rush; and Bonnie Fleming. *