Talent agent Merritt Blake, who worked with Jodie Foster, Bob Newhart, Angie Dickinson and many other film and television stars during his long career, has died at age 82. He passed away February 25 following a battle with cancer.
Blake began his career in 1962 in the mailroom of MCA, the traditional entryway for aspiring agents. He went on to become an agent in-training at General Artists Corporation under the supervision of Martin Baum, and then gained experience working with Hugh French and Jerry Perenchio at Chartwell Artists.
In 1970, he hung out his own shingle, forming The Blake Agency. It quickly gained a reputation as one of Hollywood’s most respected boutique talent agencies, representing numerous Oscar and Emmy winners.
His client list included Gene Wilder, Burl Ives, Robert Duvall, Robert Reed, James Daly and James Whitmore. He later represented Leonard Nimoy, Brooke Shields, Robert Stack, Brian Keith, Robert Urich, Elaine Stritch, Tyne Daly, Katharine Ross, Maximilian Schell, Scott Wilson, Barry Corbin, Wilford Brimley, Genevieve Bujold, Frederic Forrest, Rip Torn, Geraldine Page, Rene Auberjonois, John Rubinstein, Hallie Foote, Donald Pleasance, Leslie Caron, and Laurence Fishburne III.
Blake was a member of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences as well the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and served on the board of directors of the Association of Talent Agents.
He is survived by his wife, Sara; his children Emily and Justin; and five granddaughters.