Flora Roberts, the powerful and protective literary agent whose long list of clients included Stephen Sondheim, Tina Howe, Alfred Uhry, Susan Stroman and Maury Yeston, died Dec. 12, 1998 at New York Hospital, according to the New York Times. She was 77.
Roberts began her career as an assistant to producer Kermit Bloomgarden. By the 1950s she was a play agent and soon displayed a keen eye for talent. One of her first clients was Ira Levin, who got his job adapting Mac Hyman's novel "No Time for Sergeants" through Roberts. The subsequent play became a bit hit and launched the career of Andy Griffith.
Around this time, she met Sondheim, a young composer working on his first musical. She became his agent and the songwriter stayed with her through many successes, from West Side Story up to the present day.
Several of Roberts' clients won Pulitzer Prizes, including Sondheim (Sunday in the Park with George ), D. L. Coburn (The Gin Game ) and Uhry (Driving Miss Daisy ). Roberts was the one who suggested Uhry write Daisy, the play that made his reputation. She also put 1776 composer Sherman Edwards together with that show's bookwriter, Peter Stone; and placed Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy in The Gin Game.
-- By Robert Simonson