Mike Fenton, the casting director behind hits like “Back to the Future,” “E.T.,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “The Godfather: Part II,” died this week, the Casting Society of America confirmed on Friday. He was 85.
“Casting Society of America is saddened about the death of co-founder Mike Fenton. His remarkable accomplishments and incredible work in elevating the awareness and appreciation of the craft of casting defines his legacy in the entertainment industry,” CSA co-presidents Russell Boast and Rich Mento instructed TheWrap in a press release on Friday. “CSA extends its love and support to his cherished family and friends.”
Steven Spielberg stated that working with Fenton was “like working in a candy store” as a result of “he made casting a blast.”
“His fervent support of actors was the stuff of legend, and after landing a part, any actor’s smile was rarely as wide as Mike’s,” the “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” director stated in a press release. “He didn’t just support actors, he launched crusades. And he was a pretty good actor himself, as he would always read off-camera dialogue to create energy and mojo for the person reading for the part.”
“Mike helped me get over every moment of indecision when I had three good options and couldn’t choose. He was as responsible for some actors getting their big breaks in my films as me,” Spielberg added. “Much like the actors for whom he advocated, Mike loved his role — and those around him loved him so much, and I will miss him dearly.”
An business veteran with a whole lot of credit underneath his belt, Fenton died from pure causes at his dwelling in L.A., in accordance with his son, Mick.
Born in 1935 in Los Angeles as Ronald Michael Fenton, Fenton joined Paramount as a casting director in 1963 after working within the mailroom of the Music Corporation of America and as an agent on the Ashley-Steiner Agency. In 1971, he launched his personal casting company with Fred Roos in 1982 (and later partnered with Jane Feinberg and Judy Taylor. He went on to co-found the Casting Society of America.
Other movie credit embrace “American Graffiti,” “Chinatown,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Norma Rae,” the 1982 “Blade Runner,” “A Christmas Story,” “Poltergeist,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “Footloose” and “Aliens.”
Fenton is survived by his spouse Irene, son Mick, daughter-in-law Alison and two grandchildren.
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