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Sonjia Warren Brandon, founder and president of Commercials Unlimited Talent Agency, died May 8 in Los Angeles of natural causes.
Brandon’s daughter Treva Brandon Scharf announced her death, noting that her mother did not wish to have her age revealed.
The youngest of six sisters, Brandon was from Londonerry in Northern Ireland and raised in Scotland. She came to the U.S. as an immigrant and began her career in entertainment working for Rod Serling and John Frankenheimer at CBS Television City. There, she was introduced to talent agent Paul Brandon, who would later become her husband.
In 1970, Brandon opened Commercials Unlimited and pioneered the on-camera commercial talent business for actors, representing hundreds of top names and negotiating deals and endorsements for her clients. Robert Duvall, Patton Oswalt, Rita Wilson, Dennis Quaid, Burt Reynolds and Charlie Sheen were among those who came through her doors.
Working with entertainment management firm Baker Messina, Brandon represented their client Tim Allen in commercials for 35 years. “Nobody I knew was more intimidating, engaging, loyal and loving than Sonjia,” Allen said in a statement. “And damn, she was funny.”
Brandon was known for her sense of humor and love of jokes, as well as her elegance, grace and class. She enjoyed running, dancing, road racing and competing in slot tournaments in Las Vegas with her sister Nora.
“Sonjia was an important part of the Association of Talent Agents and served on the board for decades,” said Karen Stuart, the company’s executive director. “A brilliant and stunning businesswoman, she fought for women in the talent agency business and worked tirelessly within UTA to shine a light on the importance of the commercial business. In June 2018, the ATA Board recognized Sonjia’s dedication to the talent agency business and granted her a lifetime membership in ATA. We will miss her.”
A celebration of Brandon’s life will be scheduled at a later date. In addition to her daughter, Brandon is also survived by her son-in-law, Robby Scharf.
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