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October 01, 2011

Tom Illius, Longtime William Morris Agency

Illius spent nearly 40 years with William Morris, with stints in the Chicago, New York and Beverly Hills offices.

Tom Illius, an agent at William Morris who represented such stars as Bill Cosby, Tony Orlando, Debbie Reynolds, Jerry Lewis, Jim Nabors and Englebert Humperdink, died September 7, 2012, in Los Angeles. He was 83.

A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Illius became a personal manager and owner of a recording studio, with musician clients including the Ponytails. He co-managed Frank Fontaine and then worked for Ashley Famous Agency in New York as an agent in its nightclub department.

He joined the William Morris Agency in 1971 in the Chicago office. Two years later he moved to the New York office, where he oversaw the record department. He began working in the Beverly Hills office in 1975 and became vice president in 1980, specializing in nightclub productions such as Reno and Vegas editions of Moulin Rouge. His clients also included Mickey Gilley, Della Reese and Charo.

Illius guided the New York-based Nederlander Organization’s entry into the legitimate theater business in Nevada with conventional stage productions in Reno of Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing in 1976, The Music Man, My Fair Lady, Annie Get Your Gun, Annie and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

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