Veteran agent John Gaines, who was ousted from his director and executive VP post at Agency for the Performing Arts in July, died Saturday at his Los Angeles home. He was 54.

His business manager, Marvin Freedman, said Gaines succumbed to complications from spleen surgery. Gaines had been ill since shortly after his departure from APA, when he briefly opened his own agency. He had been hospitalized since mid-September, said Freedman, who did not wish to elaborate further.

Gaines began his career as an agent at MCA, joining APA in New York soon after the agency was incorporated in July 1962. In 1965 he relocated to the Los Angeles office and left APA in 1967 to join Intl. Famous Agency, where he worked with Mike Medavoy, current chairman of TriStar Pictures. Gaines returned to APA in 1972 and was there until he was terminated by a unanimous vote of APA’s board and shareholders.

Among the high-profile clients he represented were Steve Martin, Rick Moranis , Bernadette Peters and Mary Tyler Moore.

Gaines is survived by a brother. No services are planned, in accordance with Gaines’ wishes, said Freedman. Donations in his name can be made to AIDS Project Los Angeles or other charities of choice.

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