He impacted a whole lot of movies and jump-started the careers of unknowns together with Dustin Hoffman, Christopher Reeve, LaVar Burton and Ned Beatty.
Lynn Stalmaster, the canny casting director who pushed relative unknowns Dustin Hoffman for The Graduate, Christopher Reeve for Superman and John Travolta for Welcome Back, Kotter, has died. He was 93.
Stalmaster, who on the Governors Awards in November 2016 grew to become the primary casting director in historical past to obtain an Academy Award, died Friday morning at his dwelling in Los Angeles, Laura Adler of the Casting Society of America instructed The Hollywood Reporter.
After he accepted his honorary Oscar, Stalmaster mentioned that the important thing to his success was retaining a gap thoughts. “‘Open’ is one in all my favourite phrases,” he famous. “Because as I’ve mentioned many occasions, you by no means know the place or when one can find the reply [to casting a part]. And I’ve discovered the reply in some very unusual locations.”
On Norman Jewison’s The Thomas Crown Affair (1968), the heist traditional that starred Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway, Stalmaster grew to become the primary casting director to obtain a single-card credit score within the titles.
“There was my identify in the primary titles on a separate card: ‘Casting by Lynn Stalmaster’ … it was some of the transferring moments of my life,” the onetime actor recalled in Casting By …, the 2012 documentary directed by Tom Donahue.
For years, Hollywood refused to acknowledge the integral function performed by casting administrators like Stalmaster and his legendary East Coast counterpart, Marion Dougherty. Said director Taylor Hackford within the documentary: “The actuality is, you’re not a director; you’re a casting, uh, particular person, you’re ‘casting by’ …
Nicknamed “The Master Caster,” Stalmaster has greater than 400 casting credit listed on IMDb, with the too-many highlights to say together with I Want to Live! (1958), Inherit the Wind (1960), The Great Escape (1963), The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966), In the Heat of the Night (1967), They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969), Harold and Maude (1971), Jeremiah Johnson (1972), The Onion Field (1979), Tootsie (1982), Nine 1/2 Weeks (1986), The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990) and Battlefield Earth (2000).
During the course of his exceptional six-decade profession, the amiable Stalmaster discovered new faces and constantly solid towards kind. “Never compromise,” he mentioned on the Governors Awards, “it doesn’t matter what the scale of a job, even when it is only a response.”
For John Boorman’s Deliverance (1972), Stalmaster arrange a casting name at a Georgia elementary faculty and located Billy Redden to play the quirky teen within the film’s well-known banjo scene. And he urged that Ned Beatty (making his movie debut) play one of many businessmen who takes that fateful canoe journey down the river.
Stalmaster additionally was instrumental within the profession of William Shatner (Judgment at Nuremberg); found LeVar Burton, then a sophomore at USC, for the landmark ABC miniseries Roots; solid nation singer Mac Davis to play a professional quarterback in North Dallas Forty (1979); and insisted that eventual Oscar nominee Sam Shepard painting Chuck Yeager in 1983’s The Right Stuff (“It’s the one time I believed the movie couldn’t be made with out one particular actor,” he as soon as mentioned). He solid greater than 100 roles for that film alone.
Stalmaster noticed “an innate sense of fact” in Jeff Bridges and solid the twentysomething actor (and youngest son of Lloyd Bridges) in his first film, Halls of Anger (1970). He got here again to him once more for The Iceman Cometh (1973), and Bridges’ expertise on that movie satisfied him to make performing his profession.
“I gotta thanks, man, for heading me down that street,” Bridges mentioned on the Governors Awards.
Stalmaster took notes on each actor he noticed and saved them, understanding that sometime, a extra appropriate half may come alongside. “I need to look into their eyes. That’s the important thing,” he instructed THR’s Scott Feinberg in 2014. He would usually go to the phases of New York in quest of new expertise; that’s the place he first encountered a thin Reeve.
“I’d seen him in a play in New York with Katharine Hepburn,” he instructed Back Stage journal in 2013. “I introduced him out [to Los Angeles] to do a small function in Gray Lady Down. Then, in fact, he flashed into my thoughts when [director] Richard Donner mentioned, ‘We can’t discover Superman.’”
Stalmaster had Travolta check out for Hal Ashby’s The Last Detail (1973), however when Randy Quaid acquired the a part of younger Navy prisoner Meadows (on the way in which to an Oscar nom), he organized for Travolta to audition for the ABC sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter, jump-starting his profession.
“Lynn gave me the help that I may play something,” Travolta has mentioned.
Stalmaster introduced little-known theater actor Hoffman to the eye of director Mike Nichols for The Graduate (1967), and he acquired Richard Dreyfuss a line (en path to the lead in 1974’s The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz) within the movie as nicely.
“With some actors you sense an intangible high quality. You can’t clarify it. You simply really feel there’s one thing particular, one thing magical right here,” Stalmaster mentioned.
The son of a lawyer, Stalmaster was born on Nov. 17, 1927, in Omaha, Nebraska. After he and his household moved to L.A., he attended Beverly Hills High School and UCLA, the place he earned a grasp’s in theater arts. He began out as an actor, showing in such movies as The Steel Helmet (1951), written and directed by Samuel Fuller, and Flying Leathernecks (1951), starring John Wayne.
As a backup plan, Stalmaster labored as an assistant to a pair of producers and was requested to solid their exhibits after their casting director retired. He went impartial just a few years later and solid the detective sequence The Lone Wolf and the legendary CBS Western Gunsmoke; he could be listed because the casting director on greater than 300 episodes of the latter by 1964.
Stalmaster additionally was casting director on such TV exhibits as My Living Doll, The Untouchables, Have Gun — Will Travel, Ben Casey, My Favorite Martian, Hogan’s Heroes, Three’s Company, Family and Hart to Hart.
“Lynn gave me and my complete technology the chance to dare to dream that we may make a distinction or matter,” actor Bruce Dern mentioned on the Governors Awards. “He noticed some type of gentle in our eyes or one thing. He dared us to exit on the sting, dared us to take components that no person else would take.
“I bear in mind John Frankenheimer instructed me whereas we had been making [1977’s] Black Sunday, ‘If you’ve got acquired Lynn Stalmaster to solid your film, you may have a rattling good probability of getting a superb film.'”