25-year vet says 'being an agent is harder now'

After 15 years with William Morris, Ames Cushing has retired from the agency, and, she said, show business.

Cushing, who repped both established WMA clients like Martin Short and Jason Alexander as well as young, emerging talent like Kirsten Dunst (“Crazy/Beautiful”) and Robert Sean Leonard (“Driven”), had been an agent for 25 years. All her clients will remain with the shop, she said.

“Being an agent is harder now,” said Cushing, when asked to compare the start of her career with its end. “It’s not as creative as it used to be. It’s truly a business now, and much more international.”

Having started her career at the Blake Agency and later at the Agency for the Performing Arts, Cushing helped start the institution that would become the American Cinematheque, then known as Filmex, opening its first official screening with the work of a promising young director: Peter Bogdanovich’s “The Last Picture Show.”

Cushing’s early years were far removed from agenting: She studied fine art at the Villa Merchede in Florence before becoming a fashion executive at Oscar de la Renta and Bonwit Teller.

For now, Cushing said she is focusing one her upcoming marriage to Los Angeles real estate developer Robert Maguire and grandmotherhood, courtesy of son Thomas Cushing, — who, like his mother, is a talent agent, at Innovative Artists.

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