Charles K. Feldman

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Charles K. Feldman (April 26, 1905 – May 25, 1968) was a Hollywood attorney, film producer and talent agent.

Charles K. Feldman
Born Charles Kenneth Gould
(1905-04-26)April 26, 1905
New York City, New York
Died May 25, 1968(1968-05-25) (aged 63)
Occupation Producer and celebrity agent
Notable work The Glass Menagerie,
A Streetcar Named Desire,
The Seven Year Itch
Spouse(s) Jean Howard
(1935 m.–1947 div.)[1]
Clotilde Barot
(April 1968 m.–death)

Early life

Charles Kenneth Gould was born in New York City on April 26, 1905.[2] His father was a diamond merchant who immigrated to New Jersey. Both of his parents, however, died of cancer[3] and he was orphaned at age six, along with his five siblings.[4] He was taken in by Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Feldman at age seven.[citation needed] Feldman was from Bayonne, New Jersey and was a furniture-store owner.[3] A few years later, the Feldmans moved permanently to California.[citation needed]


Charles Feldman studied at the University of Michigan[5] and later became a lawyer, earning his degree from the University of Southern California. He earned money to put himself through college by working as a mail carrier and a cameraman in a movie studio.[4] He became a lawyer for talent agencies,[5] and by age 30, he had become known as a Hollywood attorney; however, he became an agent instead.[4] In 1932, Feldman founded the Famous Artists corporation and left his job as a lawyer.[5] Instead, Felder combined his background as a lawyer with his celebrity connections to help find and contract jobs.[4] Feldman's Famous Artists which was bought by Ashley-Steiner Famous in 1962.[6]

Feldman began using new tactics in his field. He would buy story ideas contract them to unemployed writers to make into a screenplay.[4] He would also negotiating one-picture deals for a star, not a long-term studio contract, as was the custom. This way clients could work at multiple studios simultaneously. Feldman also combined several clients into one package and selling them to a producer or studio as one unit.[7] Another tactic was the use of overlapping nonexclusive contracts with clients like Irene Dunne and Claudette Colbert,[6] demonstrating flexible alternatives to the so-called iron-clad studio contract in the classical Hollywood era.[7]

As an agent, he became friends with celebrities like Jack Warner, Sam Goldwyn,[4] Gary cooper, Greta Garbo, John Wayne, and many others.[5] This idea was the beginning of Hollywood's "package deal."[4] One of his greatest successes was The Bishop's Wife which was produced in 1948. He bought the rights to the book by Robert Nathan for $15,000 and sold the screen play for $200,000.[4]

Feldman held considerable sway in the making of some films. It was Feldman who suggested to Jack L. Warner (as a friend) that he recut Howard Hawks's Big Sleep and add scenes to enhance Bacall's performance,[8] which he felt was more or less a "bit part" in the 1945 cut.[9]

He later went on to produce his own movies instead of selling the screenplays[4] and created the Charles K. Feldman Productions in 1945. This company produced A Streetcar Named Desire and The Seven Year Itch.[3] He was the agent of Marilyn Monroe from 1951 to 1955.[10]

Notable films

Personal life and death

In 1935 Feldman married actress Jean Howard. They fought frequently, and divorced in 1947; however, they remained good friends and even continued to share a house for some time.[4][3] He also gave up gambling in 1947.[4] He married Clotilde Barot on April 14, 1968[1] just six weeks before he died of pancreatic cancer.[3][2] He died May 25, 1968, although no funeral was held for him.[5] C. K. Feldman was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Charles K. Feldman". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Ellenberger, Allan R. (May 2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company Inc., Publishers. pp. 126–127. ISBN 9780786409839. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Brantley, Ben. "Pictures of Jean". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Havemann, Ernest (17 Apr 1950). "Packages of Stars: Agent Charles Feldman gambles on bundles of actors, directors, scripts". LIFE: 107–116. Retrieved 24 May 2016. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 "C. K. Feldman, Movie Mogul, Dies; Aged 63: A Talent Agent Who Became Producer". Chicago Tribune. May 26, 1968. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Rose, Frank (1995). The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business. New York: Harper Business. p. 104,263. ISBN 9780887307492. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 Kemper, Tom. "Collaborating Agent: Charles Feldman and Clients". Questia. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  8. Grimes, William (9 Jan 1997). "Mystery of 'The Big Sleep' Solved". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  9. Irwin, John T. (2006). Unless the Threat of Death is Behind Them: Hard-boiled Fiction and Film Noir. Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press. p. 232. ISBN 9780801884351. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 
  10. Spoto, Donald. Marilyn Monroe: The Biography. Cooper Square Press. p. 610. ISBN 9780815411833. Retrieved 25 May 2016. 

External links