Sam Adams, Literary Agent for Top Hollywood Talent, Dies at 94

Sam Adams, who repped literary and entertainment figures including Margaret Atwood, Peter Bogdanovich, John Badham and Stephen J. Cannell, died Saturday in Santa Fe, N.M., his daughter Olivia Adams confirmed. He was 94.

One of final deals was for Atwood’s 1985 novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which became a 1990 feature before the TV series, and he also negotiated deals for films such as “Saturday Night Fever,” “Caddyshack” and “Klute.”

Adams started out at the Jaffee Agency, then launched his own firm with Rick Ray, joining with Lee Rosenberg to become the Adams, Ray & Rosenberg agency.

The firm became part of Triad Artists in 1984, and was acquired by William Morris in 1992, after Adams had retired.

Born in Chicago, Adams moved to Los Angeles with his mother at age 7, where she worked for her brother Joseph Schnitzer, an RKO executive. He attended Beverly Hills High, where he wrote for the school newspaper alongside Dick Sherman, Andre Previn and late casting director Lynn Stalmaster. He worked as a messenger at Warner Bros. while still attending high school, then served in the U.S. Army.

“Every day I delivered messages to Bogart, Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith and Bette Davis. I saw Bette Davis throw a fit, as well as Edgar G. Robinson. Bogart asked me to take friends of his on a studio tour. Whatever he asked me, I said, ‘Yes, Mr. Bogart!’ He liked my attitude,” he recounted to the Forward in a 2016 profile.

He worked as a journalist before joining the Jaffe Agency, from which he was later fired during the time of the Blacklist. “The same day Variety printed the news about my departure, producer and agent Ingo Preminger called and said in his heavy accent, “I see you’re leaving the agency. You come five o’clock. I’ll give you $100 a week, and you bring more information,” he told the Forward about how he was hired at PSF, run by Otto Preminger’s brother.

A longtime Santa Fe resident, he enjoyed photography and travel.

He is survived by his wife, Kathleen McIntosh, daughters, Rachel and Olivia, and four grandchildren.

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