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Mary Goldberg

Date of passing: 
September 07, 2017

Mary Goldberg was a casting director best known for her work on the films Alien, Ragtime, The Hunger and Amadeus. In 1985 she won an Artios Award from the Casting Society of America, for casting Amadeus.

Goldberg played many roles in a career that spanned the New York theater community and the West Coast film industry, but she is most remembered for an unerring eye for acting talent. She had a long and creative association with Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater.

In the early 1970s Goldberg began her career as assistant to Bernard Gersten, the Public Theater’s associate producer. In 1973, she became the Shakespeare Festival's head of casting for both the Public Theater in downtown New York and the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. There, she assembled the casts of such plays as Two Gentlemen of Verona, starring Raul Julia; King Lear, starring James Earl Jones; and Much Ado About Nothing, starring Sam Waterston and Kathleen Widdoes.

From 1973 until 1975, Goldberg was also casting director for the Lincoln Center Repertory Company, managed by the New York Shakespeare Festival under Joseph Papp’s direction. Among the plays she cast at Lincoln Center were David Rabe's In the Boom Boom Room; starring Madeline Kahn and Charles Durning; The Tempest, with Sam Waterston and Carol Kane; Troilus and Cressida and Macbeth, both with Christopher Walken; and the groundbreaking prison drama Short Eyes by Miguel Piñero.

In 1976, Mary spent time in Los Angeles at MTM Enterprises, the production company owned by Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker, casting the popular television series Rhoda, starring Valerie Harper, and Phyllis, starring Cloris Leachman. Later television work would include the pilot episodes of Fame (1982) and My So-Called Life (1994).

Mary Goldberg was a casting director best known for her work on the films Alien, Ragtime, The Hunger and Amadeus. In 1985 she won an Artios Award from the Casting Society of America, for casting Amadeus.

Goldberg played many roles in a career that spanned the New York theater community and the West Coast film industry, but she is most remembered for an unerring eye for acting talent. She had a long and creative association with Joseph Papp and the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Public Theater.

In the early 1970s Goldberg began her career as assistant to Bernard Gersten, the Public Theater’s associate producer. In 1973, she became the Shakespeare Festival's head of casting for both the Public Theater in downtown New York and the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. There, she assembled the casts of such plays as Two Gentlemen of Verona, starring Raul Julia; King Lear, starring James Earl Jones; and Much Ado About Nothing, starring Sam Waterston and Kathleen Widdoes.

From 1973 until 1975, Goldberg was also casting director for the Lincoln Center Repertory Company, managed by the New York Shakespeare Festival under Joseph Papp’s direction. Among the plays she cast at Lincoln Center were David Rabe's In the Boom Boom Room; starring Madeline Kahn and Charles Durning; The Tempest, with Sam Waterston and Carol Kane; Troilus and Cressida and Macbeth, both with Christopher Walken; and the groundbreaking prison drama Short Eyes by Miguel Piñero.

In 1976, Mary spent time in Los Angeles at MTM Enterprises, the production company owned by Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker, casting the popular television series Rhoda, starring Valerie Harper, and Phyllis, starring Cloris Leachman. Later television work would include the pilot episodes of Fame (1982) and My So-Called Life (1994).

Moving into feature films in the late 1970s, Goldberg assembled the casts of Mel Brooks’ 1976 comedy Silent Movie, Philip Kaufman’s Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) and Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979).

In the 1980s, the screen credit "Casting by Mary Goldberg" was seen on some of the most talked-about, high-profile films of the time, including Milos Forman’s Ragtime (1981), Mike Nichols’ Silkwood (1983), and Forman’s Amadeus, winner of nine Academy Awards, including best picture. In 1985, the Casting Society of America presented Goldberg with an award for outstanding feature film casting at the very first Artios Awards ceremony for Amadeus.

In 1983, Goldberg changed careers and began representing actors at International Creative Management. Then, after a stint as vice-president of talent at United Artists in 1986, Mary worked as a talent agent at the William Morris Agency prior to opening her own talent management company, Mary Goldberg Management, in operation until her death.

In 2002, she moved to Ojai, where she added two new chapters to her career: clothing and lifestyle retailer (Two Sisters) and restaurateur (Treasure Beach). She is survived by her two daughters Elizabeth (Libby) and Gabriella (Gaby), and niece (Nancy Lefkowitz.)

Goldberg died in Ojai on September 7, 2017, after a very short battle with lung cancer

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