Agency for the Performing Arts founder David C. Baumgarten died of a heart attack April 25 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He was 77.

Baumgarten, who retired in 1982, worked in the entertainment industry for 37 years. He got his start as Frankie Masters’ band manager in 1943.

In 1945 Baumgarten joined MCA’s talent agency in New York, where over the next 17 years he rose through the ranks to become executive VP in charge of personal appearances by MCA clients. He also was named to the board of directors.

Among his MCA clients were Harry Belafonte, Benny Goodman, Guy Lombardo, Bob Newhart and Margarita Sierra.

In 1962, APA was born as a result of MCA disbanding its talent agency to avoid antitrust problems. Baumgarten and some of his fellow agents from MCA pooled their clients and started the new agency.

Baumgarten is survived by two sons, Daniel and Patrick, and a daughter, Judy. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Mission Haiti.