Literary agent Joel Cohen, whose longtime clients included Garry Marshall and production companies run by Doris Day and Lucille Ball, has died. He was 92.
Cohen died Sept. 22 at his home in Westwood.
Cohen packaged numerous TV shows for Garry Marshall during the writer-producer’s prime at ABC in the 1970s with “Happy Days” and “Laverne & Shirley.” The last deal he made for Marshall was his pact to direct 1990’s “Pretty Woman,” convincing Disney to pay Marshall scale in exchange for a piece of the backend in what turned out to be a blockbuster.
Cohen represented so many writers on “All in the Family” and other shows produced by Norman Lear that the uber-producer gave Cohen his own parking spot at his compound on the Sunset Gower lot. His clients ranged from the producers of ABC’s “The Love Boat” to dramatists writing for “Playhouse 90.” He also served a stint as president of Day’s production company.
Later in the 1970s and ’80s, Cohen worked as an exec at Taft Entertainment, then the parent company of Hanna-Barbera Studios and Sunn Classic Studios. During that time Cohen helped produce the landmark 1978 NBC miniseries “Holocaust,” which Cohen cited as his proudest professional accomplishment. Through Taft, he also shepherded another NBC mini, 1986’s “On the Wings of Eagles.”
Cohen grew up in New York City and served as a naval aviator during WWII. At 22, he flew a four-engine bomber in the South Pacific.
After the war, Cohen came to Hollywood and got his first job sweeping the stage at a TV station. He segued into work as a literary agent at the Frank Cooper Agency and later joined the Ashley-Famous Agency, one of the top shops of its era.
Cohen retired at the age of 65. He continued to exercise his pilot skills, and he was a regular on the links at Brentwood Country Club. For years, he still kept an eye on profit statements for key clients to make sure they were receiving the points they’d been promised years before.
Survivors include two sons, Andy, a talent manager who is VP at Octagon Entertainment; and Alex, an actor; and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by a daughter, Melissa, and his wife of 48 years, Joan.