Mike Zimring, a successful entertainment agent for more than 40 years, died Feb. 23 in Los Angeles. He was 94.
A native of Iowa, Zimring moved to Hollywood in 1932 to pursue an acting career. He graduated from the Pasadena Community Playhouse drama school in 1936 and became a successful radio actor, starring in productions including “Lux Radio Theatre,” “Calling All Cars” and “Wings of Destiny.”
In 1941, he was drafted into the Army and became a commander of the USO in the European theater, bringing entertainment to thousands of soldiers in Western Europe.
In 1947 he was Orson Welles’ assistant at the Mercury Theater.
In 1948, Zimring landed a job as a secretary to Sam Weisbord at William Morris Agency that would put him on his career path. He caught the eye of WMA chief Abe Lastfogel, and Zimring was the senior agent in the motion picture department in the 1950s. He was promoted to head of the lit department in 1959; his clients included Karl Malden, Carl Reiner, Katharine Hepburn, Gore Vidal and Frank Capra. He had a key role in assembling pics including “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” and “It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World.”
In his memoirs, Reiner called Mike Zimring “the most civilized of all Hollywood agents.”
After his time with WMA, Zimring started his own agency. In 1990, he retired to care for his ailing wife, actress-singer Connie Russell, who died in December 1990.
Zimring is survived by two daughters, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.