Craig T. Rumar, a talent agent who represented Sylvester Stallone in negotiations for Rocky and handled Arnold Schwarzenegger’s deal for Conan the Barbarian, has died. He was 85.
Rumar died Oct. 25 in Athens, Texas, after a battle with Lewy body dementia, a publicist announced.
Serving as Stallone’s agent, Rumar — working with Larry Kubik, his business partner at Film Artists Management Enterprises — negotiated and packaged the deal with producers Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and United Artists that would bring Rocky (1976) to the big screen.
Stallone had written the screenplay and insisted that he also portray Philadelphia boxer Rocky Balboa in the film. UA offered to pay the actor $265,000 to let Ryan O’Neal or Burt Reynolds star, but Stallone wouldn’t budge.
Rocky went on to collect 10 Oscar nominations (including two for Stallone for best actor and screenplay, a feat previously accomplished by only Charlie Chaplin and Orson Welles) and won for best picture, director (John Avildsen) and editing.
It was made for less than $1 million, and Chartoff estimated in 2004 that Rocky had brought in more than $200 million, making it one of the great financial success stories in Hollywood history.
Rumar also guided and mentored Schwarzenegger as the Austrian made a transition from professional body builder (starring in the landmark 1977 documentary Pumping Iron) to actor, first in such films as The Long Goodbye (1973) and Stay Hungry (1976) and then on television in 1980’s The Jayne Mansfield Story.
Schwarzenegger’s career caught fire after he starred in John Milius‘ Conan the Barbarian (1982), made with the Dino De Laurentiis Co. and Universal Pictures.
“He oozed charm and confidence. But it wasn’t Hollywood phony,” Rumar said in Laurence Leamer’s 2005 book, Fantastic: The Life of Arnold Schwarzenegger. “He was sort of like a young messiah who could come in and do anything he wanted to. For whatever reason, he chose acting.”
Rumar represented many other actors during his career, including Jon Voight, Peter Fonda, Jack Lord, Kevin Dobson, Jack Starrett, Fred Dryer and Ivan Dixon and actor-stuntman-director Chuck Bail.
Craig Tennyson Rumar was born July 27, 1932, in San Francisco. He was raised in Los Angeles, graduated from Los Angeles High School and attended the Army-Navy Academy in Carlsbad, Calif., and USC.
He and Kubik opened Film Artists Management in the 1970s.
In the 1980s, Rumar launched an eponymous production company; produced California Cowboys (1984), starring Timothy Van Patten and Jimmy McNichol; and wrote and produced the Warner Bros.’ drama Instant Justice (1986), starring Michael Pare and Tawny Kitaen.
Survivors include his wife of 25 years, Nancy; children Christopher and Bentley; sister Joanna; ex-wife Kerstin; and four grandchildren.