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According to one obituary, Feldman disdained publicity. "Feldman was an enigma to Hollywood. No one knew what he was up to - from producing a film to packaging one for someone else."[1]

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.)[2]
Clotilde Barot
(April 1968 m.–death)


Early lifeEdit

Charles Kenneth Gould was born to a Jewish family[3][4] in New York City on April 26, 1905.[5] His father was a diamond merchant who immigrated to New Jersey. Both of his parents, however, died of cancer[6] and he was orphaned at age six, along with his five siblings.[7] He was taken in by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Feldman at age seven.[8] Feldman was from Bayonne, New Jersey and was a furniture-store owner.[6] A few years later, the Feldmans moved permanently to California.[8]


Charles Feldman studied at the University of Michigan[9] 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.[7] He became a lawyer for talent agencies,[9] and by age 30, he had become known as a Hollywood attorney; however, he became an agent instead.[7]


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.[10][9][8] 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.[7] Among his first clients were Charles Boyer and Joan Bennett.[8] Feldman's Famous Artists was bought by Ted Ashley's Ashley-Steiner agency in 1962[11] 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.[7] 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.[12] Another tactic was the use of overlapping nonexclusive contracts with clients like Irene Dunne and Claudette Colbert,[11] demonstrating flexible alternatives to the so-called iron-clad studio contract in the classical Hollywood era.[12]

In 1942, Feldman was in charge of the Hollywood Victory Caravan for Army and Navy Relief.[8] As an agent, he became friends with celebrities like Jack Warner, Sam Goldwyn,[7] Gary Cooper, Greta Garbo, John Wayne, and many others.[9]


In June 1942 Feldman signed Marlene Dietrich, Randolph Scott and John Wayne and presented them to Universal for Pittsburgh along with the script and director as a "package".[13]

This idea was the beginning of Hollywood's "package deal."[7] 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.[7]

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,[14] which he felt was more or less a "bit part" in the 1945 cut.[15]

Charles K. Feldman ProductionsEdit

He later went on to produce his own movies instead of selling the screenplays[7] and created the Charles K. Feldman Productions in 1945.

In 1947 he announced a deal where his company would help make three films at Republic Pictures, Orson Welles's Macbeth, Lewis Milestone's The Red Pony and Ben Hecht's The Shadow.[16] At Republic he also helped produce Moonrise (1948).[17]

This company produced A Streetcar Named Desire (1950) where Feldman had to fight to protect the script from censorship.[18]

He later produced The Seven Year Itch.[6] He was the agent of Marilyn Monroe from 1951 to 1955.[19]

In 1954 Feldman bought the rights to Ian Fleming's novel Casino Royale for $10,000.[1]

In 1956 he sold six books to 20th Century Fox including Heaven Knows Mr Allison, The Wayward Bus, Hilda Crane and Bernadine.[20]

A 1967 profile on Feldman said "he still sounds much like an agent when he talks."[21]

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.[7][6] He also gave up gambling in 1947.[7] 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.[8] He married Clotilde Barot on April 14, 1968[2] just six weeks before he died of pancreatic cancer.[6][5] He died May 25, 1968, although no funeral was held for him.[9] C. K. Feldman was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood.[5]


Unmade ProjectsEdit

  • The Shadow from Ben Hecht[22]
  • Mr Shadow (1950) - about twin magicians[23]
  • Once There Was a Russian (1956)[24]
  • Cold Wind and the Warm (1958)[25]
  • Mary Magdelene starring Capucine (1962)[26]
  • Voyage Out, Voyage In from a story by Irwin Shaw (1962)[26]
  • Fair Game (1962) from a story by Sam Locke[26]
  • Eternal Fire (1965)[27]
  • Lot's Wife (1965) from a script by I.A.L. Diamond starring Leslie Caron and Warren Beatty[28]
  • Take the Money and Run from Woody Allen - announced for Feldman in 1965 and made by other people after this death[28]


  1. ^ a b C. K. FELDMAN, MOVIE MOGUL, DIES; AGED 63. (1968, May 26). Chicago Tribune (1963-Current File) Retrieved from
  2. ^ a b "Charles K. Feldman". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Vanity Fair: "Pictures of Jean" by Ben Brantley February 3, 2014
  4. ^ Jewish Telegraph: "THE GREATEST EVER JEWISH FILMS Oy Oy Seven! retrieved February 26, 2017
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Brantley, Ben. "Pictures of Jean". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  7. ^ 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. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Biskind, Peter (April 2003). "The Man Who Minted Style". Vanity Fair. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ McCarthy, Todd. Howard Hawks: The Grey Fox of Hollywood. pp. chapter 23. 
  11. ^ 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. 
  12. ^ a b Kemper, Tom. "Collaborating Agent: Charles Feldman and Clients". Questia. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  13. ^ By Telephone to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1942, Jun 04). SCREEN NEWS HERE AND IN HOLLYWOOD. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  14. ^ Grimes, William (9 Jan 1997). "Mystery of 'The Big Sleep' Solved". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ By THOMAS F BRADYSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1947, Mar 28). WELLES PLANNING 'MACBETH' AS FILM. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  17. ^ By Frank Daugherty Special to The Christian,Science Monitor. (1948, Feb 20). Dane clark in 'moonrise' movie version. The Christian Science Monitor (1908-Current File) Retrieved from
  18. ^ By, T. F. (1950, May 28). THE HOLLYWOOD FILE. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  19. ^ Spoto, Donald. Marilyn Monroe: The Biography. Cooper Square Press. p. 610. ISBN 9780815411833. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  20. ^ Special to The New,York Times. (1955, Sep 10). SIX BOOKS BOUGHT FOX FOR FILMS. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  21. ^ Charles K. feldman shows independence as producer. (1967, Jul 20). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  22. ^ By THOMAS F BRADYSpecial to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. (1947, Mar 28). WELLES PLANNING 'MACBETH' AS FILM. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  23. ^ Schallert, E. (1950, Jan 18). Drama. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  24. ^ By THOMAS M PRYOR Special to The New,York Times. (1956, Nov 05). SPEWACK COMEDY BOUGHT FOR FILM. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  25. ^ By, S. Z. (1958, Oct 21). PLAY BY BEHRMAN MAY BE A MOVIE. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  26. ^ a b c By A.H. WEILER. (1962, Feb 04). BY WAY OF REPORT. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  27. ^ Martin, B. (1965, Apr 14). MOVIE CALL SHEET. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from
  28. ^ a b Martin, B. (1965, Oct 04). Leslie caron in 'lot's wife'. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from

External linksEdit