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Charles K. Feldman (April 26, 1905 – May 25, 1968) was a Hollywood attorney, film producer and talent agent who founded the Famous Artists talent agency

Charles K. Feldman
Born Charles Kenneth Gould
(1905-04-26)April 26, 1905
New York City, New York
Died May 25, 1968(1968-05-25) (aged 63)
Alma mater University of Michigan
Occupation Producer and celebrity agent
Notable work The Glass Menagerie,
A Streetcar Named Desire,
The Seven Year Itch
Spouse(s) Jean Howard
(1935 m.–1947 div.)[1]
Clotilde Barot
(April 1968 m.–death)


Early lifeEdit

Charles Kenneth Gould was born to a Jewish family[2][3] in New York City on April 26, 1905.[4] His father was a diamond merchant who immigrated to New Jersey. Both of his parents, however, died of cancer[5] and he was orphaned at age six, along with his five siblings.[6] He was taken in by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Feldman at age seven.[7] Feldman was from Bayonne, New Jersey and was a furniture-store owner.[5] A few years later, the Feldmans moved permanently to California.[7]


Charles Feldman studied at the University of Michigan[8] and later became a lawyer, earning his degree from the University of Southern California. He earned money to put himself through college by working as a mail carrier and a cameraman in a movie studio.[6] He became a lawyer for talent agencies,[8] and by age 30, he had become known as a Hollywood attorney; however, he became an agent instead.[6] In 1932, Feldman left his job as a lawyer and co-founded with Adeline Schulberg, the Schulberg-Feldman talent agency which was soon joined by Schulberg's brother Sam Jaffe and Noll Gurney.[9][8][7] In 1933, Schulberg left to form her own agency and the company was renamed the Famous Artists Agency. Felder combined his background as a lawyer with his celebrity connections to help find and contract jobs.[6] Among his first clients were Charles Boyer and Joan Bennett.[7] Feldman's Famous Artists was bought by Ted Ashley's Ashley-Steiner agency in 1962[10] and renamed Ashley-Famous.

Feldman began using new tactics in his field. He would buy story ideas contract them to unemployed writers to make into a screenplay.[6] He would also negotiate one-picture deals for a star, not a long-term studio contract, as was the custom. This way clients could work at multiple studios simultaneously. Feldman also combined several clients into one package and sold them to a producer or studio as one unit.[11] Another tactic was the use of overlapping nonexclusive contracts with clients like Irene Dunne and Claudette Colbert,[10] demonstrating flexible alternatives to the so-called iron-clad studio contract in the classical Hollywood era.[11]

In 1942, Feldman was in charge of the Hollywood Victory Caravan for Army and Navy Relief.[7] As an agent, he became friends with celebrities like Jack Warner, Sam Goldwyn,[6] Gary Cooper, Greta Garbo, John Wayne, and many others.[8] This idea was the beginning of Hollywood's "package deal."[6] One of his greatest successes was The Bishop's Wife which was produced in 1948. He bought the rights to the book by Robert Nathan for $15,000 and sold the screen play for $200,000.[6]

Feldman held considerable sway in the making of some films. It was Feldman who suggested to Jack L. Warner (as a friend) that he recut Howard Hawks's Big Sleep and add scenes to enhance Bacall's performance,[12] which he felt was more or less a "bit part" in the 1945 cut.[13]

He later went on to produce his own movies instead of selling the screenplays[6] and created the Charles K. Feldman Productions in 1945. This company produced A Streetcar Named Desire and The Seven Year Itch.[5] He was the agent of Marilyn Monroe from 1951 to 1955.[14]

Notable filmsEdit

Personal life and deathEdit

In 1935 Feldman married actress Jean Howard. They fought frequently, and divorced in 1947; however, they remained good friends and even continued to share a house for some time.[6][5] He also gave up gambling in 1947.[6] Throughout his life, his biological siblings often sent him letters asking for money. Although he preferred to not have contact with them, he did send money and old clothes.[7] He married Clotilde Barot on April 14, 1968[1] just six weeks before he died of pancreatic cancer.[5][4] He died May 25, 1968, although no funeral was held for him.[8] C. K. Feldman was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Charles K. Feldman". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Vanity Fair: "Pictures of Jean" by Ben Brantley February 3, 2014
  3. ^ Jewish Telegraph: "THE GREATEST EVER JEWISH FILMS Oy Oy Seven! retrieved February 26, 2017
  4. ^ a b c Ellenberger, Allan R. (May 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc., Publishers. pp. 126–127. ISBN 9780786409839. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Brantley, Ben. "Pictures of Jean". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Havemann, Ernest (17 Apr 1950). "Packages of Stars: Agent Charles Feldman gambles on bundles of actors, directors, scripts". LIFE: 107–116. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c d e f Biskind, Peter (April 2003). "The Man Who Minted Style". Vanity Fair. 
  8. ^ a b c d e "C. K. Feldman, Movie Mogul, Dies; Aged 63: A Talent Agent Who Became Producer". Chicago Tribune. May 26, 1968. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  9. ^ McCarthy, Todd. Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood. pp. chapter 23. 
  10. ^ a b Rose, Frank (1995). The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business. New York: Harper Business. p. 104,263. ISBN 9780887307492. 
  11. ^ a b Kemper, Tom. "Collaborating Agent: Charles Feldman and Clients". Questia. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  12. ^ Grimes, William (9 Jan 1997). "Mystery of 'The Big Sleep' Solved". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  13. ^ Irwin, John T. (2006). Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them: Hard-boiled Fiction and Film Noir. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. p. 232. ISBN 9780801884351. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  14. ^ Spoto, Donald. Marilyn Monroe: The Biography. Cooper Square Press. p. 610. ISBN 9780815411833. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 

External linksEdit