Mary Goldberg, Casting Director on 'Amadeus' and 'Alien,' Dies at 72

Courtesy of Goldberg Family
Mary Goldberg

She began her career with Joseph Papp, working on plays starring Raul Julia, James Earl Jones and Christopher Walken.

Mary Goldberg, an award-winning casting director who collaborated on plays with Joseph Papp and on films with Milos Forman, Ridley Scott and Mike Nichols, has died. She was 72.

Goldberg died Thursday at her home in Ojai, Calif., after a short battle with lung cancer, publicist Tamara Trione announced.

In 1985, the Casting Society of America presented Goldberg with an award for outstanding feature film casting at the inaugural Artios Awards ceremony for her work on Forman's Amadeus (1984), winner of eight Academy Awards, including best picture. She earlier teamed with Forman on Ragtime (1981), James Cagney's final movie.

Goldberg had a long and creative association with Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival's Public Theater before moving into the film business with Mel Brooks' Silent Movie (1976) and Lipstick (1976), starring Margaux Hemingway.

She went on to work on Philip Kaufman's 1978 remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, the Scott classic Alien (1979) and Nichols' Silkwood (1983), nominated for five Oscars.

Goldberg began her career in the early 1970s as an assistant to Bernard Gersten, associate producer of the Public Theater. Three years later, she became the Shakespeare Festival's head of casting for both the Public Theater in downtown New York and the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. There, she assembled the casts of such plays as Two Gentlemen of Verona starring Raul Julia, King Lear starring James Earl Jones and Much Ado About Nothing starring Sam Waterston and Kathleen Widdoes.

From 1973-75, Goldberg served as casting director for the Lincoln Center Repertory Company, managed by the New York Shakespeare Festival under the direction of Papp. Among the plays she cast at Lincoln Center were David Rabe's In the Boom Boom Room starring Madeline Kahn and Charles Durning; The Tempest with Waterston and Carol Kane; Troilus and Cressida and Macbeth, both with Christopher Walken; and the prison drama Short Eyes by Miguel Pinero.

Goldberg then spent time in Los Angeles at MTM Enterprises, the production company owned by Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker, for whom she cast Rhoda and Phyllis. Her later TV work included casting the pilot episodes of Fame in 1982 and My So-Called Life in 1994.

In 1983, Goldberg changed careers to represent actors at ICM. After a stint as vp talent at United Artists in 1986, she worked as a talent agent at the William Morris Agency before launching her own company, Mary Goldberg Management.

Goldberg moved to Ojai in 2002 to become a clothing and lifestyle retailer (Two Sisters) and restaurateur (Treasure Beach).

Survivors include her daughters Elizabeth and Gabriella and niece Nancy. Donations can be made to Anno's Africa or Planned Parenthood. Memorials are being planned.