Talent agent Marje Fields, a pioneer in placing well-known actors in TV commercials, died Jan. 27 at her home in Manhattan, according to the New York Times (Feb. 9).
Three decades ago, Fields came up with the then-new concept of placing famous actors in TV commercials. Among her more renowned clients were John Travolta, Edward Hermann, Barry Bostwick, Hal Linden, Ted Danson and Nancy Walker.
Aside from her star clients, Fields also represented a stable of Broadway journeymen including P.J. Benjamin (Sarava) and Joe Palmieri (1974 revival ofCandide).
After working at several agencies, Fields founded her own agency in 1971, which closed its doors in 1994 upon her retirement.
Fields played a major role in a legal case that eventually made its way to the the highest court in the land. During her presidency of the National Association of Talent Representatives, she waged a legal battle against the actors talent unions -- challenging their stranglehold on franchises and fees. (The unions forbid actors to work with unfranchised agents.) This fight went all the way to the Supreme Court, which ultimately ruled that the unions were not in violation of the antitrust laws; however, the court ruling compelled the unions to do away with franchise fees. -- By Rebecca Paller