Milt Hamerman, former casting director and talent executive for Universal Studios Television, died of natural causes on Feb. 24 in Los Angeles. He was 87.
He began his career in entertainment first as an actor, appearing in guest roles on shows such as “Sea Hunt,” starring Lloyd Bridges; he eventually moved on to become an agent with the Meyer Mishkin Agency.
Casting director Lynn Stalmaster started him on his long career as a casting director. While working for Stalmaster, Hamerman helped cast films such as “The Graduate” and “In the Heat of the Night” as well as TV series “Hogan’s Heroes,” “Combat” and “Ben Casey,” among many others. Hamerman then moved over to Warner Bros. Studios, where he worked on the series “Bonanza” and “High Chaparral.”
After a few years, Hamerman joined Universal Studios Television as a casting director and was subsequently promoted to VP of talent. At Universal Hamerman directly cast or oversaw the casting of TV series and telepics throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including “Kojak,” “Rich Man Poor Man,” “Centennial,” “The Law,” “Columbo,” “McMillan and Wife,” “Banacek,” “Miami Vice,” “Magnum, P.I.,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “The Bionic Woman.”
In 1988 the Casting Society of America presented Hamerman with the Hoyt Bowers Award, bestowed annually for career achievements in casting. Hamerman was also a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Hamerman eventually moved to Los Angeles and graduated from UCLA with a degree in theater.
Hamerman’s wife Dot died in 2007 after 47 years of marriage. He is survived by his daughters Paula, a former talent agent, and Lonnie, a casting director and CSA member; and his sister, Shirley Weiner.