Bernie Styles, an extras casting director who founded Central Casting Talent Agency and was a well-known figure in New York film circles, has died. He was 99. Styles, who worked for such filmmakers as Howard W. Koch, Francis Ford Coppola, Arthur Hiller, Woody Allen, Norman Lear, Bobby Greenhut and William Friedkin, died August 23 of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, CA.
Born on May 1, 1918 in New York City, Styles worked in restaurants and nightclubs while supporting his acting passion. He first got into the movie business in the 1960s as an actor before founding Central Casting Talent Agency. Interestingly, his career started with Koch on the original Manchurian Candidate (left) in 1962, and he bookended his career with Koch’s son, Hawk Koch, with the 1993 thriller Sliver. In between, he seemed to work on pretty much every movie that went through New York during those years. He was the go-to guy for more than just extras casting, Hawk Koch said.
“Bernie was a real Damon Runyon character. He wasn’t just the extras casting director,” said Hawk Koch. “When and if you needed help with anything or anybody in the Apple, Bernie could and would make it happen. His knowledge and passion for movies was unparalleled.” Among those who knew him, Styles was said to be fiercely loyal to his friends.
A funeral service will be held at 10:30 AM August 28 at Desert Memorial Park Cemetery in Cathedral City, CA.