Sue Mengers: 1932-2011
Hollywood's first female superagent was tough, ballsy and nearly as colorful as her A-list clients like Streisand and McQueen.
During her heyday in the 1970s, Sue Mengers, brassy, dynamic, always quick with a wisecrack, was at the red-hot center of the Hollywood action. The daughter of German immigrants, she had worked her way up from receptionist to secretary until, first at Creative Management Associates then at ICM, she became one of the first talent agents of either gender to earn the moniker superagent. And rightly so because she represented some of the era's biggest stars -- Streisand, MacGraw, McQueen, Reynolds -- as well as its top directors. Her dinner parties were hot tickets; they were exclusive affairs, with usually no more than 12 guests so she could effect introductions that would lead to future projects. Mengers, who died Oct. 15 at her Beverly Hills home of pneumonia after a series of small strokes, retired from the scene in the early '90s, spending time with her husband, Belgium-born director Jean-Claude Tramont, who died in 1996. But the scene still came to her as filmmakers, executives and a new generation of stars visited Mengers to be regaled with tales of the old days and hear her shrewd assessments of the current business. Her friend Joanna Poitier recalls: "Even new people, Jennifer Aniston and people like that, would want to be invited to her dinner parties. She was part of another era, but she had a following, like an icon."
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