UPDATED with memorial information: A celebration of life memorial for Barbara Dreyfus, who died May 15, is set for May 27 at 10 AM at the Wilshire Ebell Club in Los Angeles. In lieu of flowers, her family later will name a charitable organization for donations.
PREVIOUSLY, May 15: Barbara Dreyfus, a longtime agent who left UTA last year to join filmmaker Will Packer as the head of his production company, was found dead at her home this morning. Details are sketchy, but friends said she was in the hospital and was released to her home Wednesday. They said she had asthma and other issues. Shocked colleagues say she had been conducting business until late Thursday night and had a full schedule planned for today including a business lunch. Next week, she was planning to join her college-aged daughter for a short vacation.
Dreyfus was very well known, loved and respected in the industry, having spent 13 years at UTA repping writers, directors and producers and before that spent eight years at ICM as an agent in the motion picture literary department. She began her agent career at InterTalent, where she trained under agent Bill Block.
“She was a dear colleague. She is someone I worked with admired and loved for 25 years,” Block told Deadline in a phone interview from the Cannes Film Festival. “She was a wonderful mother and a champion for film. She was full of life and so fun to be with, and we laughed so much together. A real wit. I will miss her.”
“Barbara Dreyfus was a tremendous colleague, agent and friend. We were lucky to have her as part of the UTA family for so many years. Her passionate representation, warm heart and infectious laughter filled the halls here and made every day a bit more enjoyable,” UTA said in a statement released this afternoon. “She will be missed by us all.”
Dreyfus, who was in her mid-fifties, led the development of comedy and drama projects through Packer’s first-look deal with Universal Pictures since its inception in 2013. “Barbara had an amazing spirit and passion for her family and her career,” Packer said in a statement. “She will be missed for her creativity and fearlessness as an executive, but more importantly for her incredibly giving nature as a person.”
Prior to joining his company, Dreyfus was a senior agent in the motion picture literary department at UTA, representing a broad range of the industry’s leading screenwriters and directors. Raised in New York City, she earned a Bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University’s undergraduate film school. She began her career with a series of apprenticeships in New York and Los Angeles, working alongside directors, producers and film editors and amassing a body of filmmaking knowledge that would prove invaluable in her career as a motion picture agent.
Two years later, Dreyfus moved to ICM with the merger of the two agencies and continued to build both a formidable roster of clients and a reputation as a passionate representative of writers. After eight years at ICM, she joined UTA in 2001.
Her first stint at an any talent agency, however, was in the legal department of the William Morris Agency.
Dreyfus has represented Scott Burns (The Informant, PU-239), Andrew Adamson (Shrek, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe), Charles Stone (Drumline, Mr. 3000), Dana Stevens (For The Love of the Game), Adam Herz (American Pie, American Pie II, American Wedding), Rob Ramsey & Matthew Stone (Big Trouble, Life, Destiny Turns On The Radio), Barry Fanaro, Hilary Seitz (Insomnia, Taking Lives), Matt Manfredi & Phil Hay (At Seventeen, Aeon Flux) and Geoff Rodkey (Daddy Day Care).
Friends told Deadline that she leaves behind two teenage children, daughter Molly and son Griffin.