Sam Adams, a literary agent whose career began in the post-war years at Warner Bros. and ended with the agreement to bring The waitress’ story to the big screen, is dead according to several reports. He was 94.
Adams’ customer list included Servant author Margaret Atwood, the recently deceased Peter Bogdanovich, Saturday night fever director John Badham, TV giant Stephen J. Cannell, Oscar winner Alvin Sargent, Casablanca star Paul Henreid and Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer.
Adams started in Hollywood delivering messages to Warner Bros. while still attending Beverly Hills High School. At Warners, he met people like Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis and Edgar G. Robinson. His stay in the studio was interrupted by 18 months of active service in the Army.
After the war, he turned to journalism and served on the William Randolph Hearst-owned Los Angeles ExaminerArmed Forces Radio Services, the Beverly Hills Press and finally The Hollywood Reporter.
“I wanted to beat the game and figure out how to get around the trade contacts,” Adams said Forward in 2016. “I realized that agencies and law firms were a better source of showbusiness news than the studios.”
He continued: “I joined the agents, and Sam Jaffe saw that I also wrote reviews of theater and opera, that my reviews were more readable than average, and in 1956, Sam offered me a concert as a junior agent at the Jaffe Agency. An agent “Okay, that was not my plan. But Sam represented everyone from Lauren Bacall to Zero Mostel, and he saw a useful place for me in his office, making appointments for those who write for television.”
Adams later worked for Ingo (Otto’s brother) Preminger at PSF, who represented writers, producers and composers.
“Ingo was really my mentor in my life,” he said.
He returned to Jaffe after Preminger sold the agency to General Artists Corp. Sam Jaffe had retired, and Phil Gersh now ran the operation, which later changed its name to Gersh Agency. Not long after, Adams struck on his own.
“My company was originally called Adams & Ray in 1963, but we added Lee Rosenberg in 1964 to become Adams, Ray & Rosenberg,” he said. “As an agent, I negotiated agreements that involved Cloth, Caddyshack, Oklahoma crude oil and Saturday night fever. “
The agency became part of Triad Artists in 1984 and was later acquired by William Morris.
After his first wife died in 1975, Adams married Kathleen McIntosh, a harpsichordist, in 1986.
“A few years later, we visited New Mexico,” Adams explained, “and impulsively bought a house in Santa Fe. That was it for LA.”
They moved in 1989. He retired in 1990.
In addition to his wife Kathleen, Adams is survived by daughters Rachel and Olivia and grandchildren Noah, Henry, Lauren and Owen.
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