Mike Fenton–casting director to the stars and a frequent collaborator of Steven Spielberg–has passed away at the age of 85.
Fenton–who worked on hundreds of movies and TV shows and had an extensive genre background–also co-founded the American Society of Casting Directors, which later became the Casting Society of America (CSA), as reported by Deadline.
Fenton–who was nominated for 11 career CSA Awards, winning two–served as casting director for such notable genre films as Aliens, Poltergeist, The Amityville Horror, Blade Runner and Arachnophobia.
Spielberg worked with Fenton on his first feature, The Sugarland Express, as well as on such blockbusters as E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and Raiders of the Lost Ark. The Oscar-winning filmmaker remembered that being on a film with Fenton “was like working in a candy store–he made casting a blast.”
Spielberg added that Fenton’s “fervent support of actors was the stuff of legend. He didn’t just support actors, he launched crusades. I will miss him dearly.”
Russell Boast and Rich Mento, co-presidents of Casting Society of America, said in a statement that the organization “is saddened” by Fenton’s passing. “His remarkable accomplishments and his incredible work in elevating the awareness and appreciation of the craft of casting define his legacy in the entertainment industry.”
Fenton’s contributions extended to the small screen, as well. He cast many TV movies and miniseries, in addition to such memorable series as The Andy Griffith Show, Gomer Pyle: USMC and That Girl.
The staff of Horror News Network extends its condolences to Fenton’s family, friends and colleagues.