Longtime William Morris agent Tony Williams, who helped guide the career of many writers, directors and actors, died Oct. 15 in his native Perth, Australia, of cancer. He was 65.
A lawyer by training, he decided to leave home to practice in London. There, he started working on show business contracts, and that along with his encyclopedic knowledge of musical theater led him to becoming a theatrical agent.
In the early 1970s, he quickly rose to become managing director of the William Morris Agency in London.
He once risked jail when he was deputized by the famous London agent Peggy Ramsey to stuff the unexpurgated diaries of slain playwright Joe Orton under his coat while she diverted the police at the crime scene by fainting when she saw blood.
Williams succumbed to the call of the homeland in 1981, launching his own agency in Sydney while continuing to rep William Morris Down Under.
A witty and gregarious man, he did much to nurture established and emerging Australian talent. His real delight was discovering new talent, in particular those whom he called his “baby writers.”