Sam Adams, literary agent representing such names as Alvin Sargent, John Badham, Peter Bogdanovich, Margaret Atwood, Earl Hamner Jr. and Stephen J. Cannell during his long career, have passed away. He is 94 years old.
Adams died Saturday of natural causes at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, his wife of 35 years, harpsichord player Kathleen McIntosh, said. The Hollywood Reporter.
Adams, who briefly worked as a reporter and reviewer for CHEAP in the 1950s, left Sam Jaffe’s Jaffe Dealer in 1963 to start his own company with colleague Rick Ray, and they added Lee Rosenberg the following year to become the Adams literature and packaging company, Ray & Rosenberg. The company represented hundreds of writers in its heyday.
Adams also negotiates contracts related to movies such as Klute (1971), Raw Oklahoma (1973), Saturday night fever (1977) and Caddyshack (1980) and represented other clients including Carol Sobieski, Walter Doniger, Paul Henreid, Norman Hudis and Isaac Bashevis Singer. One of his last deals involved Atwood’s 1985 novel The story of the maid.
Adams, Ray & Rosenberg participated in what became the Triad Artist in 1984, and after Adams retired, the Triad was acquired by William Morris in 1992.
Adams was born in Chicago on April 4, 1927. When he was 7, he and his mother moved to Los Angeles so she could work as a secretary to his brother Joseph Schnitzer, a top production executive at RKO Studios. It was 1934, the same year Schnitzer and one of his brothers bought Western Apparel.
When Adams portrayed Adolf Hitler in a play at Beverly Hills High School in 1942, his uncle gave him the Hitler-like uniform that Charlie Chaplin had worn. Great Dictator (1940). “That got me some notoriety at school,” he recalls in an oral history of his life published in 2016.
Adams also worked on the school newspaper, Highlights of Beverly Hills, where he became great friends with future casting director Lynn Stalmaster.
During his final two years in high school, Adams served as a news anchor at Warner Bros., then returned to that gig after 18 months with the US Army.
“Every day I send messages to [Humphrey] Bogart, Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith and Bette Davis,” he said. “I saw Bette Davis throw fit, as did Edward G. Robinson. Bogart suggested that I take his friends on a tour of the studio. Whatever he asked me, I said, ‘Yes, Mr. Bogart!’ He likes my attitude. ”
After that, Adams worked for Judges Los Angeles, Armed Forces Radio Service and Beverly Hills Press before joining CHEAP in 1955. He said Jaffe liked his theater and opera reviews when he hired him as a junior agent at the Jaffe Agency.
After being fired, he joined a company run by Ingo Preminger (brother of director Otto Preminger) but returned to Jaffe shortly after Preminger’s company was sold to General Artists Corp. in 1961.
“One day in 1963, my colleague, Rick Ray, said over lunch, ‘So why don’t we do this for ourselves?’, he recalls. “We’re still young and very cool.”
After his first wife died in 1975, Adams married McIntosh in 1986, and they moved to Santa Fe four years later. Adams later won awards as a photographer and loves to travel – he took a trip to Antarctica when he was 88.
In addition to his wife, survivors include his daughters, Rachel and Olivia, and grandchildren Noah, Henry, Lauren and Owen.