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June 02, 2008

Personal Manager Jess Petersen Dies

Launched Several Major Careers


Jess Petersen, a personal manager who was instrumental in the careers of several well-known performers, passed away Wednesday, May 21, from complications of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He was 64.
 
Born Larry James Petersen on March 22, 1944, in Fresno, Calif., he began his career as an actor in New York City in the early 1970s, appearing in such seminal off-Broadway productions as William M. Hoffman’s From Fool to Hanged Man and Theo Barnes’ Praxeis, at the Theater for the New City.
 
He eventually moved to Hollywood, where he worked for the management firm of Seymour Heller and Associates, in the Variety Entertainment Department. There he met Thor Arngrim, with whom he formed Arngrim & Petersen Personal Management.
 
Their successful partnership lasted 20 years, helping to launch the careers of numerous clients, including Susan Anton, Michael Ontkean, Peter Jurasik, and Alison Arngrim.
 
Petersen was well known for his passions for art, classical music and all things Italian, especially the beauty and architecture of Venice, his favorite city—and, per his wishes, his final resting place.
 
He was also a long time volunteer for AIDS Project Los Angeles, serving on the APLA Summer Party Executive Committee, the Comedy Stage Production Team, and the APLA Holiday Card fundraising campaign.
 
In addition, Petersen spent 18 years working at the Los Angeles Times as a Senior Interviewer in the Election Exit Poll Research Department.
 
He is survived by his brother, Bob Walker, and many beloved friends.
 
Memorial arrangements are pending. Donations may be made in Petersen’s memory to AIDS Project Los Angeles, or the AIDS/HIV service organization of your choice.

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