You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Agent Guy McElwaine dies at 71

Hollywood vet was a founding partner of ICM

Guy McElwaine, long one of Hollywood’s top agents and studio execs, died Wednesday in Los Angeles after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 71.

McElwaine was a founding partner of International Creative Management and served as a VP of production at Warner Bros., president of Columbia Pictures and, most recently, as prexy of Morgan Creek Productions.

“He had a great eye for talent,” said ICM chairman Jeff Berg. “He was able to successfully traverse being an agent and being a studio executive. He was a wonderful colleague.”

McElwaine was an L.A. native who attended USC and played baseball professionally out of college. He began his showbiz career as a manager and publicist, working with clients such as Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland, Warren Beatty, The Righteous Brothers and The Mamas and the Papas.

After his stint in public relations, he joined CMA, forerunner to today’s ICM, in 1969, where he was the first agent to sign Steven Spielberg.

While at CMA, Warner Bros. recruited him as senior exec VP in charge of worldwide productions for Warner Brothers, where he supervised films including “All the President’s Men,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “Oh God!” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon.”

When CMA became ICM, he rejoined the company as a founding partner. As an agent, he helped assemble talent packages for films including “E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” the “Alien” trilogy and “The Towering Inferno.”

He ran ICM’s Motion Picture activities until 1981, when he left to become president of Columbia Pictures, and soon after became chairman and chief executive officer. During his tenure at Columbia, McElwaine was involved in supervising production and distribution of more than 60 films including “Ghostbusters,” “The Karate Kid,” David Lean’s final film “A Passage to India” and the Oscar-winning “Ghandi.”

Other films made during his stint at Columbia included “Stand By Me,” “St. Elmo’s Fire,” “Silverado,” “The Big Chill,” “Agnes of God,” “La Bamba” and “The Toy.”

“It was a more civilized time,” McElwaine told Variety‘s VLife magazine in 2003 about his time at Columbia. “Deals were easier. We had a philosophy of fairness. We never had the attitude, ‘Let’s screw this person to the wall.’ ”

He rejoined the agency business for the third time in 1988, resuming his position at ICM.

McElwaine moved back into production in 1998 as president and COO of Trilogy Entertainment, where he was partnered with Pen Densham, John Watson and Richard Lewis.

He joined Morgan Creek Productions in 2002, where he recently exec produced “Two for the Money,” “The Good Shepherd,” “Man of the Year” and “Sydney White.”

He was voted Motion Picture Executive of the Year by the Motion Picture Exhibitors in 1995, and honored with the Big Heart Award from Variety Clubs in 1986.

McElwaine is survived by children Dawn Taubin, a film marketing exec; Erin Ozar; Alexandra Grane; Daniel McElwaine and seven grandchildren. A daughter, Katharine, died last year.

Donations may be made to the William H. Isakoff, MD Research Foundation for Gastrointestinal Cancer, 100 UCLA Medical Plaza, Suite 345, Los Angeles, CA 90025.

More Film

  • Lucas (Jonah Hauer-King) and Bella (Amber)

    China's Bona Film Boards Brad Pitt's 'Ad Astra,' 'A Dog's Way Home' (EXCLUSIVE)

    China’s Bona Film Group is co-financing Brad Pitt space adventure “Ad Astra,” one of several films in a strong slate of international movies the company plans to release in the Middle Kingdom over the next year. Bona has also acquired Roland Emmerich’s war spectacular “Midway” and is investing in “A Dog’s Way Home,” the sequel [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    Film News Roundup: 'Aquaman' Sets Pre-Sales Record

    In today’s film news roundup, “Aquaman” sets a pre-sales record, “Bohemian Rhapsody” hits a milestone, and SAG-AFTRA promotes four executives.  PRE-SALES RECORD “Aquaman” has set a pre-sales record for Atom Tickets, topping “Deadpool 2,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” and “Black Panther.” “Clearly, ‘Aquaman’ has captured the attention of movie fans with its larger-than-life adventure that must [...]

  • 'Liga' Kicks Off At Ventana Sur's

    Ventana Sur: 'La Liga' Kicks Off at Buenos Aires' Animation!

    Spain’s Quirino Awards, Argentina’s Animation! and Mexico’s Pixelatl Festival, three key events in Ibero-American animation, will join forces to create La Liga (The League), as announced Wednesday at an Animation! round table hosted by the Quirino Awards, titled “Iberoamerican Alliance Models.” Speakers included Quirino Awards promoter José Luis Farias, Mexico’s Pixelatl director José Iñesta, Gonzalo [...]

  • The Quake Review

    Film Review: 'The Quake'

    Roar Uthaug’s 2015 “The Wave” revived the pleasures of the 1970s disaster-movie cycle in a form that seemed purer than the never-quite-dead genre’s recent Stateside incarnations — most of which seem to involve Dwayne Johnson in a generic pileup of CGI perils. “The Wave” wasn’t high art, but it was entertainment that delivered some standard [...]

  • The Mule trailer

    Film Review: Clint Eastwood in 'The Mule'

    From Dirty Harry to … dirty grandpa, Clint Eastwood certainly has a type of character that he plays best, and “The Mule” finds him squarely in his comfort zone, appearing as a surly old horticulturalist who, at age 90, has become perhaps the most reliable drug runner for the Sinaloa cartel, evading detection for nearly [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content