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Helen MacAfee; Started Talent Agency

October 08, 1996

Helen Edwards MacAfee, 89, who developed one of the first employment agencies for artists and writers. MacAfee began her long and varied career as an advertising secretary in San Francisco. She got the idea for the first of her many small businesses while working for KHJ radio in Los Angeles. When she called personnel agencies searching for creative people, nobody knew what she meant. So on April 1, 1936, she opened Helen Edwards and Staff Agency, a talent agency. Until it closed in 1989, the agency placed more than 300,000 people in jobs in advertising, publicity, commercial art and design and modeling. Over the years, her companies included a charm school, an insurance agency with her husband, the late Donald B. MacAfee, and, only six years ago, Castenada's Classic Cars. Working, she insisted, kept her young. MacAfee was a former president of the Los Angeles Advertising Club. On Sept. 26 in Los Angeles of heart failure.

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