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Jay S. Garon; Literary Agent for John Grisham

August 28, 1995

Jay S. Garon, 71, New York literary agent who took on best-selling attorney-author John Grisham after 30 other agents refused. Born in Fall River, Mass., Garon attended UCLA and was a character actor in a few films, including "Dragon Seed" and "First Yank Into Tokyo." Moving to New York, he produced radio and television shows and a Broadway play, "Katake," before creating his literary agency in the 1950s. During the turbulent anti-Communist era, he represented several writers blacklisted by Hollywood. Garon enjoyed modest success with a diet book by comedian James Coco, reminiscences by actress Hedy Lamarr and several romance novels. But he became a mega-agent when he started encouraging Grisham in 1987 after receiving three chapters of the Mississippi lawyer's first novel, "A Time to Kill." Fifteen publishers rejected the book before Garon persuaded one to publish it. He recently sold the movie rights to that novel, with the help of the Los Angeles-based Writers & Artists Agency, for $6 million. On Tuesday in New York of a pulmonary embolism.

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