Producer Richard Shepherd, Founder of Artists Agency, Dies at 86

He headed production at MGM and Warner Bros. in the '70s and '80s

Studio exec and producer Richard Shepherd died Tuesday night at his Los Angeles home, his wife Patricia told Variety. He was 86.

Shepherd, who was suffering from a long-time illness, produced “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and headed production at MGM and Warner Bros. before founding the Artists Agency during his 60-plus-year career.

Shepherd also produced 1959’s “The Hanging Tree,” starring Gary Cooper; 1960’s “The Fugitive Kind” with Marlon Brando and 1976’s “Robin and Marian,” starring Audrey Hepburn, whom he convinced to return to acting after a decade-long absence. He worked with longtime partner Martin Jurow on most of his projects, including “Love in a Goldfish Bowl” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”

He was hired by MCA owner Lew Wasserman right after graduating from Stanford in the 1940s. Shepherd would later found his own agency, The Artists Agency, and rep the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Richard Harris. He spent two decades there, where he worked until his 70s.

After producing a slew of films, Shepherd returned to the agency world in the ’60s as one of the first partners at CMA (later ICM).

As head of production at Warner Bros., he oversaw “The Exorcist” in the 1970s. He took over at MGM in 1976, developing 1979’s “The Champ,” 1979’s “Clash of the Titans” and 1982’s “Shoot the Moon.”

He is survived by his wife and son, Scott Shepherd, a TV writer and producer. Donations may be made to the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

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