×
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

  • Zach Galifianakis Jerry Seinfeld Netflix

    Film News Roundup: Zach Galifianakis' 'Between Two Ferns: The Movie' Coming to Netflix

    In today’s film news roundup, “Between Two Ferns: The Movie” is unveiled, “Friedkin Uncut” gets a fall release and Sony Classics buys “The Traitor” at Cannes. MOVIE RELEASES Netflix has set a Sept. 20 release date for Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns: The Movie,” based on his 11-year-old talk show. Galifianakis made the announcement during [...]

  • Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for

    Romanian Crime-Thriller 'The Whistlers' Bought for North America

    Magnolia Pictures has bought North American rights to the Romanian crime thriller “The Whistlers” following its premiere in competition at the Cannes Film Festival. Written and directed by Corneliu Porumboiu, the film stars Vlad Ivanov, Catrinel Marlon, Rodica Lazar, Antonio Buil, Agustí Villaronga, Sabin Tambrea, Julieta Szonyi and George Pisterneanu. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical [...]

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • A QUIET PLACE Emily Blunt

    'A Quiet Place' Sequel Moves Ahead Two Months to March 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved its sequel to “A Quiet Place” ahead by two months from May 15 to March 20, 2020. John Krasinski is returning to direct the still-untitled movie with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprising their roles. Cillian Murphy is joining the cast. “A Quiet Place” grossed $340 million at the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content