Freddie Fields, the legendary Hollywood agent, producer and studio executive who helped make stars of Mel Gibson, Richard Gere and others with films like "The Year of Living Dangerously," ”American Gigolo" and "Glory," has died at age 84.
Fields died Tuesday at his Beverly Hills home, said publicist Warren Cowan, a longtime friend. The cause of death was lung cancer, Cowan told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
During a long, colorful career as one of Hollywood’s biggest behind-the-scenes players, Fields founded the international talent agency Creative Management Associates and served as president of two major film studios, MGM and United Artists.
He produced such films as "Glory," which won Denzel Washington his first Oscar; "Crimes of the Heart," starring Diane Keaton, Jessica Lange and Sissy Spacek; and "American Gigolo," which helped turn Gere into a box-office star.
He also produced "Looking For Mr. Goodbar (starring Keaton and Gere); "Victory," with Sylvester Stallone and Michael Caine; "Fever Pitch" with Ryan O’Neal; "Lipstick" with Margaux Hemingway and her sister Mariel, and was executive producer and a partner in television’s nationally syndicated "The Montel Williams Show."
In a 1995 interview with the AP, Gibson credited Fields with turning him into a major movie star by marketing him relentlessly when Fields was an executive with MGM and Gibson made the 1982 film "The Year of Living Dangerously." His face became so ubiquitous with the public, Gibson recalled, that he felt like he was being marketed "like coffee."
"He had been an agent and he had a flair for using the machine," Gibson said. That’s why it reminds me of coffee. Because Freddie served me up to people every … morning."
Before forming Creative Management Associates, now known as International Creative Management, Fields was a partner in the First Artists Company with Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Sidney Poitier and Barbra Streisand.
"We lived through a very exciting time together," Streisand said. "He was a very creative thinker. I always enjoyed his company. It’s the end of an era."
At ICM, Fields’ talent roster included Newman, Caine, Streisand, Robert Redford, Gene Hackman, Woody Allen, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Steve McQueen and directors Arthur Penn, Steven Spielberg, Mel Brooks, Sidney Pollack, George Lucas, Francis Ford Coppola, and Paul Mazursky.
Fields’ first marriage, to actress Polly Bergen, ended in divorce.
He is survived by his second wife, actress and former Miss Universe Corinna Tsopei, and three children.