If you were to scroll through a list of the great movie agents—Myron Selznick, Lew Wasserman, Sam Cohn, Kevin Huvane—you’d get no sense of who they are from those names. They could be partners in a law firm or four guys slicing corned beef behind the counter at a deli. Then your eye falls on this: “Boaty Boatwright,” the very name a promise of buoyant fun, and you think: Hold it right there, I want to know her.
I’ve been lucky enough to know Boaty for almost 30 years, half of which time she was my agent. She has been a vibrant color on the palette of show business for more than 60 years. Her career is a name-dropper’s paradise: as an agent to some of the most gifted filmmakers of the last 40 years, people such as Alan Pakula, Norman Jewison, Sidney Lumet, and Jonathan Demme; before that as a studio executive; and before that as the casting director behind Fiddler on the Roof, The Man Who Would Be King, and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and who, in her very first outing, having never cast one single thing before, discovered the children to play Jem and Scout Finch for director Robert Mulligan in Pakula’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird.