Tom Illius, an agent at William Morris for almost 40 years who represented Bill Cosby, Tony Orlando, Debbie Reynolds, Jerry Lewis, Jim Nabors and Englebert Humperdink, among others, died Sept. 7 in Los Angeles. He was 83.
Illius was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He became a personal manager and owner of a recording studio, with musician clients including the Ponytails (“Born Too Late”). He co-managed Frank Fontaine (“The Jackie Gleason Show”) and then worked for Ashley Famous Agency in New York as an agent in its nightclub department.
He joined WMA in 1971, first working in the Chicago office, then moving to the New York office in 1973, where he headed the record department. He began working in the Beverly Hills office in 1975 and became VP in 1980 specializing in nightclub productions such as Reno and Vegas editions of “Moulin Rouge.” Clients also included Mickey Gilley, Della Reese and Charo.
Illius guided the New York-based Nederlander Organization’s entry into the legitimate theater biz in Nevada with conventional stage productions in Reno of “Hello Dolly” with Carol Channing in 1976, “The Music Man,” “My Fair Lady,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Annie” and “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.”
Services will be held at the Church of the Good Shepherd on Friday, Sept. 23, at 10 a.m., 505 North Bedford Drive, Beverly Hills, 90210. Donations may be made at the Church of the Good Shepherd.