I worked with Richard Gere on my first feature as a producer in the late 80s. The only reason that Richard was available to work with first-timers like us on an indie film was that, 5 years after An Officer and a Gentleman and several years before Pretty Woman, his career had cratered. Ed Limato (pictured above) was his legendary agent.
I was terrified that Ed would see how little we had to offer Richard (not only did we not have much money, we were also really green as filmmakers) and pull his client. But, as much as anyone else, Ed and Richard made our movie happen. I was in awe of Ed. His elegance and confidence radiated from Hollywood to our set in Iowa.
Ed wasn't like other agents. If you wanted to make yourself a player, he could, in some mysterious way, tap into the glamour and power and share it with you. Even though our star was experiencing dark days, it was clear that Ed would never quit on Richard and that, in his courtly way, Ed would do whatever it took to put Richard back on top. I have always been grateful that neither Ed nor Richard let us know how insignificant our little film was. In fact, they gave us an aura of class and achievement far beyond what we deserved. I personally wanted to be like them; loyal, elegant and proud of their profession.
I'd like to say our film went on to revive Richard's career and that Ed and I became great friends. That (Hollywood ending) didn't happen. But Richard Gere was soon back on top (thanks to being paired with Julia Roberts in another film that Ed supported) and our little Iowa film was well received at Cannes. My movie career was launched. Tonight, the news of Ed Limato's passing has left me yearning for the Hollywood that he represented, a Hollywood that maybe never really existed at all. In Ed Limato's Hollywood, loyalty and class were seen as supreme virtues and life was very very glamorous.
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