Lynn Stalmaster, the Oscar-winning casting director whose eye for expertise helped launch the careers of John Travolta, Christopher Reeve, Richard Dreyfuss and lots of different actors, has died. He was 93.
Stalmaster grew to become the primary particular person to obtain an Academy Award for casting when he accepted an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2016. The Academy of Movement Image Arts and Sciences had lengthy resisted giving particular recognition to casting administrators and Stalmaster was delivered to tears.
“It’s not solely an Oscar for me, however it’s recognizing the main contribution casting makes,” he mentioned.
He started his profession as an actor, even showing with John Wayne within the 1951 movie “Flying Leathernecks,” however wished a backup plan. He was an apprentice to a pair of TV producers who made him their casting director.
Stalmaster was looking for stars for reveals comparable to “Gunsmoke” and “Ben Casey” when director Robert Sensible tapped him to solid supporting actors in a 1958 movie starring Susan Hayward referred to as “I Wish to Dwell!”
Stalmaster opened his unbiased casting workplace simply because the reign of Hollywood’s contract-based studio system ended, which allowed actors and administrators new freedom of alternative in selecting their initiatives. Stalmaster made it his enterprise to know each younger performer in Los Angeles and New York, and travelled the U.S. and Europe to seek out recent expertise.
Stalmaster solid greater than 200 movies, together with “The Graduate,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Harold and Maude,” “Tootsie,” “Deliverance,” “Being There, ”Judgment at Nuremberg” and “The Proper Stuff.” He additionally labored on a documentary about casting administrators, “Casting By,” its title a reference to how Stalmaster and his friends have been credited in movies, versus being referred to as “casting administrators.”
“A pioneer of our craft, Lynn was a trailblazer with over half a century of world-class movie and tv casting credit,” mentioned the Casting Society of America in a press release. “Thanks, Lynn, for displaying us the best way.”
Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1927, Stalmaster mentioned his father gave him the arrogance to grow to be an actor.
“Think about my father — he was on the Supreme Courtroom in Nebraska — dads don’t need their sons to be actors,” he mentioned. “However he mentioned to me, ‘I would like you to go to the Abbey Theater.’”
Along with his background in appearing, Stalmaster would usually learn reverse the actors he hoped to solid to carry out their greatest efficiency throughout auditions.
“I might look into their eyes and play the scene,” he mentioned in a 2016 interview. “And I most likely performed extra roles than every other actor in historical past — and females!”
He urged Travolta for what grew to become his breakout function: Vinnie Barbarino within the sitcom “Welcome Again, Kotter.” Different actors who can thank Stalmaster for early movie roles embrace Dreyfuss, who had one line in 1967’s “The Graduate,” in addition to Jon Voight, James Caan, Martin Landau and Jeff Bridges.
Former Related Press Author Sandy Cohen compiled biographical materials for this obituary.
Michelle Monroe, The Related Press