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Longtime CAA Agent Marty Baum Dies

Marty Baum, who helped forge CAA into a powerhouse agency when he joined the fledgling firm in 1976, died Friday. He was 86.

No cause or place of death was immediately reported.

Formed by ex-William Morris agents Mike Rosenfeld, Michael Ovitz, Ron Meyer, William Haber and Rowland Perkins in 1975, CAA started out by focusing on TV deals and needed the movie business to enter the agency big leagues.

So they hired Baum, a former Broadway talent agent who had moved to ABC to produced feature films for the network's ABC Motion Pictures arm.

Baum represented Joanne Woodward, giving CAA an in to sign her husband, Paul Newman. Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford and others soon followed, giving CAA big-time influence in the film business.

Baum's other clients over the years included Sidney Poitier, Richard Attenborough, Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews, Gene Wilder, Bette Davis, Rock Hudson, John Cassavetes, Carol O'Connor, Richard Harris, Harry Belafonte, Peter Sellers and Rod Steiger.

A renowned storyteller, Baum continued to come to the office and attend as many meetings as he could until recently.

In a statement, the CAA partners said, "The loss of Marty Baum deeply saddens all of us at CAA. We send our most heartfelt condolences to his loving family. To those of use in his CAA family, Marty was a hero. He was not only a brilliant agent, but a generous mentor to so many. We are grateful to have known Marty as a dear friend and colleague and will always be indebted to him for his inspiration and wisdom."

During his 1968-71 stint at ABC, Baum served as executive producer on eight-time Oscar winner Cabaret (1972). His other producer credits include The Last Valley (1971), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), The Wilby Conspiracy (1975) and The Killer Elite (1975), all as president of Optimus Prods.

 

Born in New York on March 2, 1924, Baum took part in the Allied invasion of Normandy. Upon returning to New York, he started his show business career in theaters off-Broadway. He moved to Los Angeles in 1960.

In his career, Baum served as partner at Baum & Newborn Theatrical Agency, senior executive vp of Creative Management Assn., head of the West Coast office of General Artists Corp., and head of the motion picture department of the Ashley Famous Agency.

Baum is survived by his girlfriend of 12 years, Vicki Sanchez; his daughter, Fern, her husband Randy and their son Austin; and his son, Rich, his wife Melissa and their children Taylor and Sydney. His wife, Bernice passed away in 1997.A native of New York, Baum's producer credits include The Last Valley (1971), Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), The Wilby Conspiracy (1975) and The Killer Elite (1975).