Stanley A. Kamen, whose soft-spoken, minimum-profile belied the power he wielded as one of Hollywood's better-known and most successful agents, died Thursday at UCLA Medical Center.
He was 60 and had been undergoing treatment for lymphoma.
A native of New York City and a law school graduate of Washington and Lee in Lexington, Va., Kamen at his death was executive vice president and member of the board of directors of the William Morris Agency. He was better known, however, as the talent agent who made a leading man of a young "heavy" named Steve McQueen and who over the years represented Barbra Streisand, Warren Beatty, Walter Matthau, Joan Collins and Gregory Peck, among others.
He joined the Morris agency's legal department in New York City after graduating from school but in 1953 was persuaded by a Morris executive to relocate in Los Angeles. Here he turned from the law to agentry, persuading the late actor-producer Dick Powell to hire McQueen for a tentative TV series called "Wanted Dead or Alive" and then secured for the young actor a feature film, "The Magnificent Seven."
He asked Columbia Pictures to rewrite the co-starring role in "The China Syndrome" into a female part after Richard Dreyfuss pulled out of the picture and then secured Jane Fonda to play opposite Jack Lemmon.