Meta Rosenberg, agent and Emmy-winning exec producer of “The Rockford Files,” died Dec. 30 in Beverly Hills. She was 89.
After graduating from Hollywood High at age 15, she went directly to the story department at Fox. She spent time in New York working for the Small-Landau Agency, and when she returned to L.A., became head of the story department at Paramount.
While there, she urged director Billy Wilder to hire her friend Raymond Chandler to write the screenplay for “Double Indemnity.” She married agent George “Rosey” Rosenberg, and they partnered in their own talent agency until his death in 1969.
During her 65-year career she worked with clients including Christopher Isherwood, Berthold Brecht, Robert Redford, James Mason and James Garner. She overcame resistance from the networks to sell groundbreaking series such as “Julia,” “Hogan’s Heroes” and “Ben Casey,” which included unusual subjects for their time.
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She became a producer when she partnered with client James Garner on a number of series, including “The Rockford Files,” for which she won one Emmy and was twice nominated.
Producer Sidney Sheinberg, president of MCA/Universal when “Rockford” was in production, said “I admired her courage in changing her career from talent agent to producing an an era when women producers were a rarity.”
“Sopranos” creator David Chase remembered she was “a complete original, and totally absolutely fearless.”
She was an avid photographer and photography collector of artists including Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams and Andre Kertesz, and exhibited her own photographs at age 86 at the Peter Fetterman Gallery.
She is survived by a daughter, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Donations may be sent to the Hospice Foundation of Los Angeles, 2601 Airport Drive, Suite 230, Torrance, CA 90505.