Agent, actor and producer Edgar Small died of lung cancer in Los Angeles on Dec. 23. He was 83.
Small worked as a producer at several studios and then ran several agencies, where he helped shaped the careers of actresses including Demi Moore, Lynda Carter and Suzanne Somers.
Small, whose mother was a big band singer and whose uncle was studio chief Dore Schary, grew up in New York City. After he joined the Army, he was bitten by the stage bug while serving in Caserta, Italy, when cast in uniform by playwright Thornton Wilder in an armed services production of Wilder’s “Our Town.”
Born Stuart Edgar Waldman, he took the name of his stepfather, talent agent Paul Small, and began appearing in Broadway plays before making his motion picture debut in 1948 in RKO’s “The Window.”
He then produced and directed live radio programs before moving to Los Angeles.
His first positions were assisting Don Hartman, head of production at Paramount, and then Jerry Wald at Columbia.
In 1954, Small joined MGM as assistant to producer Edwin Knopf, where he worked on films including “The Glass Slipper” and “Diane.”
He returned to producing in 1970 with “God Bless the Children,” which became short-lived series “The Psychiatrist.”
Small began as an agent in 1956 to help his mother, who had taken over Paul Small’s talent agency upon his death. The agency’s clients included Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck and Sammy Cahn. In 1961, he negotiated a buyout with the Ashley-Steiner Agency, the precursor to today’s ICM. He formed the Witzer Small Agency with Ted Witzer in 1970 and in 1975 he started Artists Career Management.
Small’s expertise was launching up-and-coming actors; he worked with Angie Dickinson, Crispin Glover, Ray Liotta, Sidney Poitier and George C. Scott.
In 1985, Small retired from the agency business and returned to acting, appearing in films, TV shows and commercials. He also wrote a memoir, “From Agent to Actor: An Unsentimental Education.”
He was active in the Screen Actor’s Guild’s BookPals program, reading to at-risk children in elementary schools.
He is survived by two sons and a granddaughter.
Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or the Actors’ Fund.