Remember the name Luke Tarsitano. Since becoming a favorite of Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, he has been wooed by the major agencies. Following meetings with each, he decided to sign with the William Morris Agency last week.
Not bad for a 4 1/2-year-old who hasn’t yet started school, but is already being called the youngest person ever to star in his own TV series, Amblin’s “Fudge,” which started an initial 13-week Saturday morning run Jan. 14.
Tarsitano beat out 2,500 kids in a talent search to get the role. One of Morris’ youngest clients ever, Tarsitano will be repped at the agency by Dave Phillips, Jennifer Craig, Marc Schwartz and Brian Gersh.
The hope is to steer the youth toward a feature career, where junior thesps are pulling major money: Macaulay Culkin got $8 million for “Richie Rich,” and 7-year-old Mara Wilson, who starred in Fox’s “Miracle on 34th Street,” signed a $1.5 million deal for her next two films.
Despite those dizzying prospects, Tarsitano is handling his new-found success well, according to his father, Ralph.
“Amblin wanted a 7-year-old to play a 5-year-old in ‘Fudge,’ but Luke snuck in and got the role,” said Ralph, who with wife Tamara is trying to keep the kid’s initial success in proper perspective. “On the way over for a final audition, he was sitting in his carseat, and I tell him he’s going to see Steven Spielberg, who directed ‘E.T.’ and ‘Jurassic Park.’ He goes in alone, before 25 people, and three days later we find out he asked them where Steven Spielberg was. When they asked why, he says, ‘I hear he makes movies and I want him to do my movie.’ “