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Edward Victor CBE (9 September 1939 – 7 June 2017) was an American literary agent, based in London for much of his career.

Ed Victor
Edward Victor

(1939-09-09)9 September 1939
Bronx, New York City, New York, US
Died7 June 2017(2017-06-07) (aged 77)
London, England
EducationBayside High School
Dartmouth College
Pembroke College, Cambridge
OccupationLiterary agent
Michelene Wandor
(m. 1963; div. 1975)

Carol Ryan
Children3 sons



Victor was born on 9 September 1939, in Bronx, New York City, the son of Russian Jewish immigrant parents, who ran a photographic equipment store.[1][2] He went to Bayside High School in the borough of Queens, then earned a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College, and after graduating attended Pembroke College, University of Cambridge, on a Marshall Scholarship in 1961.[3][4]

Publishing editorEdit

Victor married the writer Michelene Samuels in 1963; the couple made their home in London and had two children. Victor worked for publishing house the Oborne Press, then part of Lord Beaverbrook's Express Newspapers group. He then worked on coffee table books for Weidenfeld & Nicolson. After approaching George Weidenfeld in the toilet, Victor was moved to general publishing, looking after the works of Saul Bellow and Vladimir Nabokov.[3]


In 1970, his first marriage ended in divorce, and wanting a new challenge Victor co-founded countercultural newspaper Ink (May 1971 – February 1972)[5] with Oz founders Felix Dennis and Richard Neville.[4] Conflict about what Ink should be led to its failure, and Victor returned to the United States to work for Knopf.[3]

Literary agentEdit

Victor married his second wife, American lawyer Carol Ryan,[2] and after a year travelling they made their main home in London to be close to Victor's children.[6] Victor was one of the first former journalist/editors to make the move to be a publishing agent, when in the 1970s literary agents were not welcomed by British publishers. However, many changed their minds when Victor's first sale in 1976[7] was for the book and film rights to Stephen Shephard's novel The Four Hundred for $1.5m. In 2005, Victor's client John Banville won the Booker Prize. The following day Victor sold Eric Clapton's memoirs for $4 million.[3]

Rather than take "blind" scripts sent to him, Victor instead began to gain clients through personal reference. In 2003, Victor and his wife were named second on Tatler's list of the most invited guests in London, behind Elton John.[3]

In the 2016 New Year Honours he was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to literature.[8] In September 2016, it was reported that David Cameron had signed with Victor to write his memoirs.[9]

He celebrated the 40th anniversary of his literary agency, Ed Victor Ltd, in November 2016.[10]

Personal lifeEdit

With his second wife, Carol Ryan, Victor lived mainly in London, with a secondary home in the Hamptons on Long Island in the United States. The couple had a son Ryan, while Victor had sons Adam and Ivan from his first marriage to Michelene Wandor. In 2002, Victor suffered from an attack of viral pneumonia, but fully recovered.[3]

The same year, Victor published his first book, The Obvious Diet – Your Personal Way to Lose Weight Fast Without Changing Your Lifestyle, through Ebury Press and Arcade Publishing.[11][12]

Victor was vice chairman of the board of directors of the Almeida Theatre, a Trustee of the Arts Foundation[13] and of the Hay Festival,[14] as well as a founding director of the Groucho Club.[15]


Victor was suffering from chronic lymphocytic leukemia when he died from a heart attack on 7 June 2017.[16][17] He is survived by his wife, Carol; three sons, Ryan, Ivan and Adam.[1]

Selected clientsEdit


  1. ^ a b Barnett, David (8 June 2017). "Ed Victor obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  2. ^ a b Doherty, Rosa (8 June 2017). "'Smart, charming, brilliant' Ed Victor dies aged 78". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Merritt, Stephanie, "The Mr Big of publishing", The Observer profile, 11 March 2007.
  4. ^ a b Roberts, Sam, "Ed Victor, a Stylish and Frenetic Book Agent, Dies at 77", The New York Times, 12 June 2017.
  5. ^ "Ink" at rock'sbackpages library.
  6. ^ Barnett, David, "Ed Victor – an honoured literary agent", The Guardian, 31 December 2015.
  7. ^ Ed Victor Ltd at Writers Services.
  8. ^ "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N10.
  9. ^ "Just fancy that". Private Eye. London: Pressdram. 30 September 2016.
  10. ^ Clee, Nicholas, "Obituary: Superagent Ed Victor Dies at 78", Publishers Weekly, 8 June 2017.
  11. ^ "Victor, Ed" at Arcade Publishing.
  12. ^ Whitfield, Fredericka, "Interview With Ed Victor", CNN Sunday Morning, 15 September 2002. – Transcripts.
  13. ^ The International Who's Who 2004. 67. Psychology Press. 2003. p. 1741. ISBN 9781857432176.
  14. ^ "Final Report - Hay Festival" (PDF).
  15. ^ Dailey, Donna; Tomedi, John; Bloom, Harold (2005). London. Infobase Publishing. p. 184. ISBN 9781438115559.
  16. ^ Campbell, Lisa (8 June 2017). "Ed Victor dies". The Bookseller. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  17. ^ Sherwin, Adam, "Ed Victor, literary ‘super-agent’ to David Cameron and Nigella Lawson, dies", i News, 8 June 2017.
  18. ^ Clients, Ed Victor Ltd.

External linksEdit