He was called, “The Master Caster.” 93 year old Academy Award-winning casting director, Lynn Stalmaster, died on February 13, 2021 at home in Los Angeles.
His death was confirmed by Laura Adler of the Casting Society of America as reported by Hollywood Reporter.
Stalmaster had a remarkable vision for casting. He is credited with casting Christopher Reeve as Superman and young John Travolta for the TV comedy classic Welcome Back, Kotter, as well as other TV shows such as Ben Casey, My Favorite Martian, Hogan’s Heroes and many others.
Stalmaster was born on Nov. 17, 1927 in Omaha, the son of a Nebraska Supreme Court judge, Lynn moved with his family to Beverly Hills and while at Beverly Hills High School, Lynn Stalmaster became involved in theatre and radio, where he discovered a penchant for performing.
After serving in the US Army, Stalmaster received a degree in Theater Arts from UCLA and embarked on an acting career. Among his acting credits were roles in Sam Fuller’s The Steel Helmet and Nicholas Ray’s Flying Leathernecks, opposite John Wayne.
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In 1952, Stalmaster received a masters degree from UCLA in Theater Arts and then began working as production assistant to prolific television producers Gross-Krasne, who soon promoted him to be their casting director on five on-air series.
In 1955, he opened his own casting office and began to bring new talent to television in the westerns Gunsmoke and Have Gun Will Travel.
In 1968, Lynn became the first casting director to receive billing on a separate card in a film’s main titles in Norman Jewison’s The Thomas Crown Affair and that credit, “Casting by Lynn Stalmaster,” has appeared on over 180 major motion pictures over six decades.
Nicknamed “The Master Caster,” Stalmaster has over 400 credits listed on his IMDb among them such classics as Inherit the Wind, The Great Escape, In the Heat of the Night, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, Harold and Maude, Jeremiah Johnson, Tootsie, Nine 1/2 Weeks, and The Bonfire of the Vanities.
The 2016 Governors Awards celebrated Stalmaster as the first casting director to receive an Academy Award. The honorary Oscar recognized his long and exemplary career. “Never compromise,” he said at the Governors Awards. “No matter what the size of a role, even if it’s just a reaction.”
“Lynn gave me and my entire generation the opportunity to dare to dream that we could make a difference or matter,” actor Bruce Dern said at the Governors Awards. “He saw some kind of light in our eyes or something. He dared us to go out on the edge, dared us to take parts that nobody else would take. I remember John Frankenheimer told me while we were making (1977’s) Black Sunday, ‘If you’ve got Lynn Stalmaster to cast your movie, you have a damn good chance of having a good movie.'”
In addition to his extraordinary filmography, Stalmaster has long been a champion of diversity in Hollywood and has provided countless opportunities for women and all minorities, both on-screen and off.
Stalmaster’s family has not yet released an official announcement on his passing.