Phil Gersh, thelegendary Hollywood agent who founded The Phil Gersh Agency, later becoming TheGersh Agency with sons Robert and David, has died aged 92.
Gersh representeda broad roster of stars spanning the Golden Age including Humphrey Bogart,Richard Burton, David Niven, Harrison Ford and Robert Wise and worked with suchdirectors as Mark Robson, Raoul Walsh, Joseph Losey and Richard Fleischer.
Writer clientsincluded Ernest Lehman, Budd Schulberg, Wendell Mayes, Julius J Epstein andGordon Willis and Gersh eventually expanded his client list to include theactors Karl Malden, Fredric March, William Holden, Eddie Albert and LloydBridges, among others.
Gersh set up hisagency in 1949 and swiftly became known as a principled but tough negotiator,winning roles for Bogart in Sabrina, Niven in Around The World In 80Days and Wise as director of The Sound Of Music.
In the late1970s Gersh was joined by his sons and the business changed its name to TheGersh Agency in the early 1990s, where Gersh remained active until March ofthis year.
Gersh was bornin 1911 in New York, the son of immigrant parents. He graduated from UCLA andjoined the agency of his brother-in-law Sam Jaffe, where he started as an officeboy for $15 a week and quickly rose up the ladder. After a stint as a tankdestroyer in the second world war he returned to California in 1945 and resumedhis career.
Among hisphilanthropic achievements, Gersh was a founder and benefactor of the LosAngeles Music Centre, served on the board of directors of the Motion PictureTelevision Fund and founded the Los Angeles County Museum. The Gersh familyholds one of the largest private collections of 20th century art inthe US.
He is survivedby his sister Pearl Sindell, his wife of 59 years Beatrice (Aberle) Gersh, hissons David and Bob and their wives Susan and Linda, and his grandchildrenSteven, Laura, Jessica, Billy and Annie.