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Carole Fields-Arnold, 59; Talent Agent Co-Founded Drug, Alcohol Program

July 16, 2004|Myrna Oliver | Times Staff Writer

Carole Fields-Arnold, a former talent agent who with her late husband, jazzman Buddy Arnold, co-founded the Musicians Assistance Program to help artists fight drug and alcohol addiction, has died. She was 59.

Fields-Arnold died June 11 at her home in Los Angeles, according to her friend and executor Matt Lowell. The cause of death was not announced.

The talent agent married jazz saxophonist Arnold in 1986, and the couple founded the assistance program in 1992. Arnold, who was a recovering heroin addict, died last November of complications from open-heart surgery.

Fields-Arnold, who closed her talent agency in 1996 to concentrate full time on expanding the assistance program, overcame her own demons.

She was a recovering alcoholic, and on Aug. 2, 1985, her adopted children Christopher and Rachael, 15 and 13, perished when their plane crashed in Dallas en route to Los Angeles from their grandparents' home in Florida.

In 1999, Fields-Arnold's work with substance abusers' rehabilitation was recognized by Friendly House, a recovery home for women in Los Angeles, which gave her its humanitarian award.

The same year, the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy honored her for creating a series of public service television announcements featuring several prominent musicians who shared their experiences with drugs and recovery. Fields-Arnold hoped the spots would encourage young people to stay off or get off drugs.

In 1999 Ginna Marston, executive vice president and director of program development for Partnership for a Drug-Free America, described Fields-Arnold as "one of those rare people who is street smart, and can be tough when needed, but also gets everyone to look up and see the light, dream a bigger dream than they thought they could and lock arms to reach for it together. "

Born in New York, Fields-Arnold studied at the New School for Social Research in Manhattan, planning to become a literary agent.

She began her career at the William Morris Agency, and soon moved to the Ford Modeling Agency where she booked, nurtured and publicized models for 15 years.

In 1984, Fields-Arnold moved to Los Angeles to run Nina Blanchard's commercial department, and a few years later started her own talent agency.

Fields-Arnold is survived by her mother, Ruth Ragusa Albert. Services were private. Any memorial gifts can be sent to Friendly House, whose website is www.friendlyhouse.net.

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