Bernie Styles, New York Casting Director, Dies at 99

Courtesy of Eisenhower Medical Center/Lisa Thompson
Bernie Styles

He worked for such filmmakers as Woody Allen, Francis Ford Coppola, Gene Saks, Howard W. Koch and Hawk Koch.

Bernie Styles, who cast actors and extras for such films as The Manchurian Candidate, Up the Sandbox and Outrageous Fortune, has died. He was 99.

Styles died Wednesday at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., producer and former Motion Picture Academy president Hawk Koch told The Hollywood Reporter.

Working out of New York City, Styles owned the Central Casting Talent Agency and for a time lived above the now-defunct Stage Deli on Seventh Avenue near Carnegie Hall (the restaurant had a prominent place in the 1984 Woody Allen movie Broadway Danny Rose).

Styles started out casting extras with Koch's father, producer Howard W. Koch, on The Manchurian Candidate (1962), directed by John Frankenheimer, and completed his career with Hawk Koch and director Phillip Noyce on Sliver (1993).

He served as casting director on Leo Penn's A Man Called Adam (1966), starring Sammy Davis Jr.; Francis Ford Coppola's You're a Big Boy Now (1966); Gene Saks' Last of the Red Hot Lovers (1972) and Howard W. Koch's Badge 373 (1973).

Styles brought out the extras for William Friedkin and Norman Lear on 1968's The Night They Raided Minsky's and also worked for Irvin Kershner (1987's Up the Sandbox), John Schlesinger (1981's Honky Tonk Freeway), Alan J. Pakula (1981's Rollover), Guy Hamilton (1985's Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins) and Arthur Hiller (1987's Outrageous Fortune).

"Bernie was a real Damon Runyon character," Hawk Koch said. "He wasn't just the extras casting director. When and if you needed help with anything or anybody in the Apple, Bernie could and would make it happen. His knowledge and passion for movies was unparalleled."

In Annie Hall (1977), Styles showed up onscreen as an agent in an uncomfortable scene as Alvy Singer (Allen) has to listen to the awful routine of another comic (Johnny Haymer).

Styles moved to California and left show business behind after Howard W. Koch, who was a good friend, died in 2001.

Asked to reveal his secret for longevity, Styles said a few years ago: "I believe it's just the way the cards are dealt. And being stress free. Figure out what you like to do, then go find a village of people who like the same things."

A funeral service will take place at 10:30 a.m. on Monday at Desert Memorial Park cemetery in Cathedral City, Calif.

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