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Mary Goldberg, Casting Director of ‘Amadeus’ and ‘Alien,’ Dies at 72

Mary Goldberg, casting director of films including “Amadeus” and “Alien,” died Sept. 7 at her home in Ojai, Calif., following a short battle with lung cancer. She was 72.

Goldberg’s career spanned the New York theater community and the West Coast film industry, but she is best known for casting talent. She began her career in the early 1970s as an assistant to Bernard Gersten, the Public Theater’s associate producer, and became the Shakespeare Festival’s head of casting for both the Public Theater in downtown New York and the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in 1973. There, Goldberg assembled the casts of plays including “Two Gentlemen of Verona” starring Raul Julia, “King Lear” starring James Earl Jones, and “Much Ado About Nothing” starring Sam Waterston and Kathleen Widdoes.

From 1973 until 1975, Goldberg was also casting director for the Lincoln Center Repertory Company, managed by the New York Shakespeare Festival under Joseph Papp’s direction. At the Lincoln Center, she cast David Rabe’s “In The Boom Boom Room” starring Madeline Kahn and Charles Durning, “The Tempest” with Sam Waterston and Carol Kane, “Troilus and Cressida” and “Macbeth” both with Christopher Walken, and “Short Eyes” by Miguel Piñero.

Following her work in theater, Goldberg spent time in Los Angeles at MTM Enterprises in 1976. At the production company owned by Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker, she cast the television series “Rhoda,” as well as the pilot episodes of the 1982 series “Fame” and “My So Called Life.”

From television, she moved into feature films. Goldberg assembled the cast of Mel Brooks’ 1976 comedy “Silent Movie,” as well as Philip Kaufman’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” and Ridley Scott’s “Alien.” She also cast Milos Forman’s “Ragtime” and “Amadeus,” the latter of which won nine Academy Awards. In 1985, the Casting Society of America presented Goldberg with an award for Outstanding Feature Film Casting for “Amadeus” at the first Artios Awards ceremony.

Goldberg changed careers in 1983, and began representing actors at ICM. After serving as V.P. of talent at United Artists in 1986, Goldberg worked as a talent agent at the William Morris Agency prior to opening her own management company, Mary Goldberg Management, which operated until her death.

She moved to Ojai in 2002, where she expanded her career as a clothing and lifestyle retailer and restaurateur. She is survived by her two daughters, Elizabeth and Gabriella, and her niece, Nancy Lefkowitz.

Donations may be made to Anno’s Africa or Planned Parenthood.

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