May 9, 2009

‘Super agent’ Sam Cohn dies at 79

Entertainment super agent Sam Cohn, who dominated New York's talent representation business at his height, had died at age 79, a family friend says.

While heading International Creative Management's New York office for nearly 25 years, Cohn represented the likes of Paul Newman, Woody Allen, Meryl Streep and Susan Sarandon. He died Wednesday in New York after a brief, unspecified illness, family friend and Broadway producer David Richenthal told the Los Angeles Times.

Cohn's A-list clients included not only such movie actors as Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Lily Tomlin, but also Hollywood and Broadway writers, producers and directors. Some of them included Nora Ephron, Bob Fosse, Robert Altman, Mike Nichols and E.L. Doctorow, the Times said.

Time Magazine reportedly dubbed Cohn the first super agent of the modern age in 1993.

When I first met Sam as a young producer and asked him why he had become an agent, his answer was very to the point, Richenthal told the Times. He said, 'I like being on the side of the artists.' And I think that certainly summarized his work point of view. He wanted to be an advocate for great artists.