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RIP: Sue Mengers

RIP: Sue Mengers

Credited with being the first female super agent, Sue Menger aged 79, has died.

Variety has posted her obituary.

“When Sue was an agent with us in the late ’60s at CMA, there were very few who were women, and no senior execs at networks or studios”, said ICM Chairman and CEO Jeff Berg.

In a 1973 profile, Time magazine said,

As a vice president of mighty Creative Management Associates, Sue Mengers is, in the rueful words of one of her ex-clients, ‘more powerful than the stars she handles.’

Sydney here: When I got my first job in the film business as a secretary at IFA in 1973, there were three women agents, Ina Bernstein, Andrea Eastman and Suzanne Konigsberg. When I left in 1974, IFA was merging with CMA. Freddie Fields’ agency Creative Management Associates repped Paul Newman, Robert Redford and McQueen, and was purchased by Marvin Josephson’s International Famous Agency who repped Jane Fonda, Burt Reynolds, and Donald Sutherland to create International Creative Management in 1974. At that time, there were three more female agents at IFA: Paula Weinstein, Kitty Hawkes and one other whose name escapes me. ICM was formed and Sue Mengers was definitely the most vivid of all those women agents. Suzanne and Kitty both retired early from being agents; Paula went on to head Warner Bros. Production, becoming the first female head of a studio (production).

I became the first woman executive in international film distribution in 1975 with 20th Century Fox International.

It was tough being a female trailblazer.

Sue Menger, born in Hamburg of Jewish parents who were forced to leave Germany when Hitler came to power, was a Trailblazer Par Excellence, pulling no punches in empowering and declaring herself to be a major player in the business. Hats off to Sue. We needed you then and we still need you today!

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