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Ed Limato: The Nicest Shark in Hollywood

Getty Images / WireImage / Chris Weeks

Ed Limato was a rarity in Hollywood — an agent who was genuinely liked by his clients and colleagues.

In July 2010, Hollywood said good-bye to one of its favorite behind-the-scenes players when mega-agent Ed Limato (1936 - 2010) was buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

It was unfortunate that Limato’s death was not widely covered outside entertainment and business publications. He was a colorful character and — in an era when agents are typically depicted as ruthless forces of nature (Jeremy Piven as Ari Gold in "Entourage") or foul-mouthed, sleazy creatures (Tom Cruise’s memorable turn as Lev Grossman in "Tropic Thunder") — Limato seemed genuinely well-liked by the clients he served and by Hollywood at large.

He began his career in the mail room of New York City’s Ashley Famous Agency, which later morphed into the behemoth ICM. After moving to Hollywood, Limato joined the William Morris Agency, and his client list since 1970 reads like a virtual who’s who of American cinema: Ava Gardner, Marlon Brando, Michelle Pfeiffer, Meryl Streep, Wynona Ryder, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Kevin Costner, Goldie Hawn, Dennis Quaid, Madonna, Kevin Costner, Steve Martin, Nicolas Cage, Robert Downey Jr., Liam Neeson, Mel Gibson, Richard Gere, and Denzel Washington.

An openly gay man, Limato never had children and saw his clients as his family, even keeping framed photographs of them in his home. “Ed was more than an agent,” Denzel Washington told Deadline Hollywood. “He was like a father to me and a dear friend to me and my entire family.”

Ed Limato