Legendary theatrical agent Meyer Mishkin, who early in his career helped discover such stalwarts as Tyrone Power, Gregory Peck and Jeff Chandler, and later discovered and guided the early careers of Richard Dreyfuss, Charles Bronson and James Coburn, died Oct. 9 of natural causes in Los Angeles. He was 87.
Mishkin, whose reputation was that of an honest man but tough negotiator, remained an independent theatrical agent throughout his 60-year career despite handsome offers from the likes of the William Morris Agency.
His roster of clients at various times included Bronson (the name of whom he changed from Buchinski), Tom Skerritt, Robert Carradine, Claude Akins and Gary Busey. He represented Skerritt when the actor received good notices for his role opposite Shirley MacLaine in “The Turning Point.”
Mishkin was reared in New York’s Lower East Side. By his early 20s, he dropped out of City College of New York and took a job running errands for Fox Movietone News. He soon left the $12-a-week job and began working in Fox’s talent department, where he scoured vaudeville venues, little theaters and nightclubs for promising movie talent.
In addition to future movie stars Power, Peck and Chandler, he discovered Anne Baxter, Vivian Blaine, Kirk Douglas and Wendell Corey.
During his tenure at Fox, Mishkin developed a professional relationship with director Henry Hathaway that led to Mishkin’s involvement as a casting director on a number of the helmer’s features, including “The House on 92nd Street” (1945) and the James Cagney starrer “13 Rue Madeleine” (1946).
In 1948, Mishkin relocated to Los Angeles, where he worked briefly as a talent agent for Huntington Hartford. The following year, he formed his own agency and, at Hathaway’s recommendation, signed on young actor Lee Marvin, who remained a friend and client for years.
Mishkin is survived by his wife, Edna, two daughters, two sons, two granddaughters and two sisters.
Services were private.