Guy McElwaine, a founding partner of International Creative Management and one of Hollywood's more respected prototypes for the modern agent-turned-studio boss, died Wednesday after battling pancreatic cancer. He was 71. A former MGM publicist, McElwaine joined ICM in 1975 after his original agency, CMA, merged with Famous Artists; it was his second turn repping talent after handling the likes of a young Steven Spielberg and eventually overseeing worldwide production at Warner Brothers in the early 1970s.
After bundling talent for Spielberg projects including Close Encounters of the Third Kind to E.T., McElwaine returned to the studio front office in 1981, guiding Columbia Pictures to an Oscar win for Gandhi and blockbusters like Ghostbusters and The Karate Kid. His final stint at ICM ran from 1988 to 1998, when he took up production roles once again at Trilogy Entertainment and Morgan Creek.
Over at Deadline Hollywood Daily yesterday, Nikki Finke offered a fine obit remembering the "charming, martini-drinking, storytelling Irishman" whose career intersected with everyone from Elvis Presley to Joe Eszterhas — the latter of whose infamous "Eszterhas memo" surfaced after the screenwriter recounted Michael Ovitz's threats should he leave CAA to re-sign with McElwaine at ICM. Oh, the good old days. This Guy will be missed.