Rowland Perkins, Creative Artists Agency Co-Founder, Dies at 84

Courtesy of Kamala James
Rowland Perkins

He, Michael Ovitz, Ron Meyer and two others departed William Morris to launch the agency in 1975.

Rowland Perkins, the veteran Hollywood agent who exited the William Morris Agency to launch Creative Artists Agency with Michael Ovitz, Ron Meyer, Bill Haber and Michael Rosenfeld in 1975, has died. He was 84.

Perkins died Wednesday at a retirement community in Sherman Oaks, his daughter Kamala told The Hollywood Reporter. The cause of death was pneumonia.

In the business for nearly 35 years, Perkins led CAA's television packaging operations, handling producers and companies including George Stevens Jr. and Aaron Spelling Productions. He helped introduce the concept of "motion pictures for television" as CAA underwent historic growth to become the largest talent agency in the world.

Perkins left CAA in December 1993 — the second of the founders to depart, following Rosenfeld — saying he was stepping aside to serve as an adviser. He formed the production company Double Eagle Entertainment (Davy Jones' Locker) in 1995 and then worked for several internet companies.

Born in West Los Angeles on July 10, 1934, Perkins served for two years in the U.S. Navy and graduated from UCLA with a bachelor's degree in business administration. He started at WMA in Los Angeles in its mailroom in 1959 and went on to launch its TV talent division and then lead its creative services department as vice president.

Perkins was a member of the board of governors at the Television Academy and spent 15 years on the USC Scripter Award panel that annually selects the best screenplay/novel adaptation each year.

"Our hearts are heavy today," CAA said in a statement. "All of us at CAA send our heartfelt condolences to Rowland's cherished family. We hope they find some measure of comfort in knowing the depth of our gratitude for his friendship and leadership and that Rowland's legacy lives on in the hallways of every CAA office around the world."

Survivors include his daughters Kamala, Dahra and Alexandra and grandchildren Zoe, Harper, Grace, Annabel and Rile. His wife of 38 years, actress and comedienne Sally James Perkins, died in April 2017.