In an era when casting directors largely worked for specific producers, operating out of that producer's office, Mr. Shurtleff worked for the formidable slave-driver David Merrick, beginning with the hit 1959 comedy Take Me Along. He went on to cast Merrick shows Irma La Douce, A Taste of Honey, Do Re Mi, Carnival!, Subways Are for Sleeping, I Can Get It for You Wholesale, Oliver! and Dylan.
After leaving Merrick's employ, he began his own independent casting agency, working on such landmark shows The Apple Tree, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, 1776, Jesus Christ Superstar and Pippin.
Mr. Shurtleff also wrote the reference guide "Audition: Everything an Actor Needs to Know to Get the Part," which was published in 1978 with an introduction by Bob Fosse. He wrote the book after becoming frustrated by the unpreparedness of the actors he would see at auditions. It was a best-seller and remains in print. One the book's best-known aspects is a list of "12 guideposts" actors must follow, such as "Relationships—how to create them onstage" and "Conflict—what are you fighting for?"
He moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and became a highly sought-after acting teacher.
There will be an informal gathering of Mr. Shurtleff’s friends and students at 6 PM Feb. 15, at the New Actors Workshop, 259 W. 30th St.