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Lee B. Winkler, a talent business manager for four decades, died in Hollywood on Christmas Eve on his way home from work. He was 84.
Winkler’s firm, Global Business Management, handled more than 150 celebrities over the years, including John Ford, Anthony Hopkins, Burt Reynolds, Roddy McDowall, Renee Valente, Ernest Thompson, Jonathan Demme and James Whitmore. He became a business manager in 1970.
“In a business not always known for its kindness and unconditional support, Lee Winkler was the beautiful exception,” said Thompson, who won a screenwriting Oscar for 1981’s On Golden Pond. “When he took you on as a client, he adopted you as a friend, a father figure, a confidant.
“He was the first to believe in me, long before I won my Oscar, and was my fiercest champion, through good times and not so good. His old-school toughness was matched by unbounded charm and a genuine appreciation for the artists he represented. He’ll be sorely missed.”
Winkler also executive produced several films that starred football player turned actor Fred Williamson, including Black Bounty Hunter (1975), Joshua (1976), Adios Amigo (1976) and Mean Johnny Barrows (1976).
Winkler was awarded knighthoods by the Holy Cross of Jerusalem and the Sovereign Order of Cyprus in 1970.
He is survived by his wife Maria; son James; brother Laurance; and granddaughter Dyana.
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