Influential New York casting director Shirley Rich, who cast such films as “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Cabaret” and “Three Days of the Condor,” died Dec. 28 in Greenwich, Conn. She was 87.
Her son Steven told the New York Times she died of natural causes.
Rich ran Shirley Rich Casting for many years, and before that worked for Broadway producer and director Harold Prince and as a scout for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Specializing in casting supporting and smaller roles, she combed legit stages to find the right actors, casting thesps such as Judd Hirsch, Sean Penn, Tom Cuise and James Spader early in their careers. To prepare for casting secondary characters for “Saturday Night Fever,” she hung out in Brooklyn discos to get a feeling for the patrons.
Among her other film casting credits are “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe” and the original cast for the soap opera “Ryan’s Hope.”
Born in Chicago and raised in Iowa, she also worked for Rodgers and Hammerstein early in her career, where she discovered Yul Brynner when he auditioned for “The King and I.” On Broadway, she cast shows including “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” “Sly Fox” and “Private Lives” with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.
Rich is survived by her husband, Lewis Krohn, her son and a daughter.