Booker Max Fried dies

Helped launch the Motion Picture Bookers Club

Max Fried, who helped launch the Motion Picture Bookers Club and went on to serve the organization for 70 years, died Nov. 8 in Marlboro, N.J. He was 99.

In 1939, 29 bookers from film companies and theater chains formed the Motion Picture Bookers Club. Fried was president from 1956-57 and again in 1965 and chaired 22 of the group's theater parties, with proceeds going to charity. When industry interest in the dinners began to lag, Fried was among those who came up with the idea of presenting a young actor with a Star of Tomorrow award. After "The Graduate's" Dustin Hoffman was named the first recipient, the annual dinners became a must on the show-business calendar. In later years, the popular Fried was in charge of selling raffle tickets.

Fried began at Warner Bros. and its Vitagraph Pictures in October 1927 -- a few days after the release of "The Jazz Singer" -- and a year later was promoted to booker. After 14 years with the studio, he worked at Century Theatres and buying and booking chain Liggett-Florin. In 1975, he became sole owner of Maxi Cinema Enterprises, which booked films for independent theaters. The business lasted until his death.

Fried is survived by his children, Harry, Ellen, Ronni, Jan and Robert; his sister, Ettie; 11 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.