September 2, 1932
October 15, 2011 (aged 79)|
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jean-Claude Tramont (m. 1973–1996; his death)|
Susi Mengers was born to a Jewish family in Hamburg, Germany, the daughter of George and Ruth Mengers. Several years of birth have been published, and while she was living, reporters stated "she won't say just when" she was born. In 1938, she arrived at age five in New York with her parents on the ship S.S. Koenigstein from Antwerp. Neither of her parents spoke English at the time. Settling in Utica, New York, her father became a traveling salesman. After her father's suicide in a Times Square hotel, she relocated to the Bronx with her mother, who took a job as a bookkeeper.
Mengers entered the talent agency business in 1955 as a receptionist at MCA, at that time the dominant company of the trade, with a roster of clients that included Jack Benny, George Burns and Gracie Allen, Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift. She also worked for a while as a secretary for freelance theatrical agency Baum & Newborn. Eventually, she was hired as a secretary at William Morris Agency, a powerhouse in the emerging TV business, where she remained until 1963, when a former Baum & Newborn colleague, Tom Korman, formed his own agency and hired her as a talent agent.
Her first big score was actress Julie Harris, who was primarily a stage performer. To Mengers' surprise, Harris wanted to appear on an episode of Bonanza. Mengers contacted the producer, who commissioned a specially written episode for Harris. Mengers represented Anthony Perkins, who had not worked in the United States since Psycho (1960). She contacted producer Ray Stark and obtained for Perkins a role in director René Clément's film Is Paris Burning? (1966).
In the late 1960s, she was hired by Creative Management Associates (CMA), a boutique agency owned by Freddie Fields. CMA's clients included Paul Newman, Steve McQueen and Robert Redford. On December 30, 1974, Fields sold the agency to Marvin Josephson's International Famous Agency (IFA); the two merged to become International Creative Management (ICM). Mengers represented Candice Bergen, Peter Bogdanovich, Michael Caine, Dyan Cannon, Cher, Joan Collins, Brian De Palma, Faye Dunaway, Bob Fosse, Gene Hackman, Sidney Lumet, Ali MacGraw, Steve McQueen, Mike Nichols, Nick Nolte, Tatum O'Neal, Ryan O'Neal, Burt Reynolds, Cybill Shepherd, Barbra Streisand, Gore Vidal, and Tuesday Weld, among others. She retired from ICM in 1986 and returned to the William Morris Agency for a brief stint from 1988-90.
When the Manson family murders took place, Mengers reportedly reassured Streisand: "Don't worry, honey, stars aren't being murdered. Only featured players."
On May 5, 1973, she married Belgian writer-director Jean-Claude Tramont (May 5, 1930 – December 27, 1996). Barbra Streisand was her maid of honor. Tramont died on December 27, 1996, aged 66, from cancer.
- In the 1973 film The Last of Sheila, the character played by actress Dyan Cannon was reportedly based on Mengers.
- In 1981, Mengers expressed disapproval when she thought the character Shelley Winters portrayed in the Blake Edwards' film S.O.B. was based on her. She publicly stated that "An Alp should fall on their house."
- Elizabeth Taylor reportedly based her own character in the 2001 television movie These Old Broads on Mengers.
- In Barbara Walters' 2008 autobiography, Audition: A Memoir, she describes Mengers as "a legend in the business. Smart, tough, and funny, she is also brutally honest."
- On April 24, 2013, Bette Midler opened at the Booth Theatre on Broadway in a one-woman play about Mengers, I'll Eat You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers.
- United States Social Security Death Index, Sue Mengers, 2011
- "Ms. Mengers claimed to be 78, although some sources listed her age as 79 or 81." Chmielewski, Dawn C.; Kaufman, Amy (October 17, 2011). Sue Mengers, Hollywood talent agent, dies in Beverly Hills. Washington Post
- According to the U.S. 1940 census, Mengers was born
Susi Mangars and her age is given as 7 in April 1940, which would correspond to 1932 as her year of birth
Estimated Birth Year: abt 1933
Marital Status: Single
Relation to Head of House: Daughter
Home in 1940: Utica, Oneida, New York
Street: Stueben Street
Inferred Residence in 1935: Hamburg, Germany
Residence in 1935: Hamburg, Germany
Sheet Number: 8A
- Name Age
- George Mangars 33
- Ruth Mangars 31
- Susi Mangars 7
- The New York Daily News obituary (p. 24, October 17, 2011: "Mengers claimed to be 78 [sic], but she was believed to be 81.") indicates Mengers may have been born as early as 1930.
- New York Times Magazine article, October 16, 2011; retrieved October 17, 2011.
- Time Magazine article, March 26, 1973; retrieved May 26, 2009.
- Brook, Vincent. From Shtetl to Stardom: Jews and Hollywood: Chapter 1: Still an Empire of Their Own: How Jews Remain Atop a Reinvented Hollywood. Purdue University Press. p. 10.
- Staff report (1985). Sue Mengers 1938-. Contemporary Newsmakers Gale Research Co.; ISBN 978-0-8103-2201-1
- McBride, Joseph (1983). Filmmakers on filmmaking: The American Film Institute seminars on motion pictures and television, Volume 1. J.P. Tarcher, ISBN 978-0-87477-266-1: "Born in Germany in the mid-1930s, she left with her parents in 1939 and settled in the Bronx."
- Rosenfield, Paul (July 26, 1987). Power players: Hollywood's Love-Hate Relationship With Agents. Los Angeles Times
- Staff report (April 7, 1988). Los Angeles County.Los Angeles Times
- Biskind, Peter (2004). Gods and monsters: Thirty years of writing on film and culture from one of America's most incisive writers Nation Books, ISBN 978-1-56025-545-1
- United States INS - Port of New York - Manifest of Alien Passengers aboard the S.S. Koenigstein from Antwerp 13 August 1938.
- Abramowitz, Rachel (2000). Is That a Gun In Your Pocket? Women's Experience of Power in Hollywood (hardcover ed.). New York: Random House. p. 39.
- Obituary: Sue Mengers, Daily Telegraph, October 21, 2011
- Kemper, Tom. "Sue Mengers." In Immigrant Entrepreneurship: German-American Business Biographies, 1720 to the Present, vol. 5, edited by R. Daniel Wadhwani. German Historical Institute. Last modified October 10, 2013.
- Abramowitz, p. 40.
- Abramowitz, p. 41.
- Abramowitz, p. 42.
- Abramowitz, p. 43.
- Abramowitz, pp. 44-5.
- Abramowitz, p. 51.
- Sue Mengers obituary in The Telegraph (UK)
- California Marriage Index 1960-1985, County Record #70 17446, State File #50007
- Abramowitz, p. 50
- Social Security Death Index entry for Jean Claud Tramont, SS# 106-24-7005
- Carter, Graydon (October 26, 2011). "Remembering Sue Mengers: Everybody Came to Sue's" Vanity Fair
- Playboy interview with Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards (December 1982).
- Keck, William (February 12, 2001). "Scandal's History for 'These Old Broads'". Los Angeles Times.
- Walters, Barbara (2008). Audition: A Memoir. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. p. 310. ISBN 978-0-307-26646-0.
- Bette Midler on Her Return to Broadway (Video - The New York Times)