Sue Mengers, one of the most influential Hollywood agents during the 1960s, '70s and '80s, died following several small strokes, Vanity Fair reports. She claimed to be 78 years old, but some sources said she was 81.
According to Vanity Fair Editor Graydon Carter, Mengers died Saturday at her Beverly Hills home surrounded by close friends, Ali MacGraw, Joanna Poitier (wife of Sidney) and Boaty Boatwright.
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Mengers was born in Germany and moved to the United States with her parents in 1938 during the Holocaust. She started in the entertainment industry in 1955 when she worked at a receptionist at MCA, then the William Morris Agency. She left the latter company in 1963 to become an agent and her first two big clients included Broadway actress Julie Harris and Psycho's Anthony Perkins.
Until her retirement in 1986, Mengers worked at Creative Management Associates and International Creative Management and was one of the pioneering female agents in the business. Her clientele included Candice Bergen, Michael Caine, Cher, Faye Dunaway, Gene Hackman, Sidney Lumet, Steve McQueen, Nick Nolte, Burt Reynolds, Cybill Shepherd and Barbra Streisand, who served as Mengers' maid of honor in her 1973 wedding to Belgian writer-director Jean-Claude Tramont. (Tramont died in 1996).
Mengers was also the inspiration for the character portrayed by her client, Dyan Cannon, in the 1973 film The Last of Sheila.
Mengers maintained a stronghold in the film community long after her retirement from the business side. "When she wound her career down in the '80s, Agent Sue became Hostess Sue—and she was even more successful in her new vocation," Carter wrote in his tribute. "Dinner at Sue's was like stepping into a Hollywood you imagined, but almost never experienced."