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Al Onorato, Casting Director and Talent Manager, Dies at 88

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Al Onorato, who handled casting for such TV shows as Bewitched, The Partridge Family, Police Story and Fantasy Island and represented Mark Harmon, Kristin Chenoweth and others as a talent manager, has died. He was 88.

Onorato died April 21 in Los Angeles, his nephew Chris Onorato announced.

Onorato founded the Casting Society of America (then known as the American Society of Casting Directors) with Mike Fenton and Joe Reich in 1982, and he received a lifetime achievement award from the organization in 2019.

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Onorato won the CSA’s Artios Award for best casting for a comedy film for Bagdad Café (1987), sharing it with Jerold Franks, his partner in Onorato/Franks Independent Casting.

Alfred Louis Onorato was born in Jersey City, New Jersey, on Nov. 10, 1935. He graduated from Hackensack High School and Fairleigh Dickinson University, then worked as a page at NBC Studios in New York City.

He was a vice president in charge of talent and casting at Columbia Pictures Television and worked at Universal, CBS and MGM before going off on his own.

His résumé as a casting supervisor and/or casting director included the series Hawaii Five-O, The Wild Wild West, Bridget Loves Bernie, Police Woman, CHiPs, Fame, David Cassidy — Man Undercover, Mr. Merlin and Freddy’s Nightmares and the daytime soaps General Hospital, Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless.

As a talent manager, he assisted Cheryl Ladd, Katie Holmes, David Hasselhoff, Sean Murray, Elijah Wood, Gregory Harrison and others and was instrumental in rejuvenating the career of Gwen Verdon. He taught acting as well.

Survivors include his siblings, Edward, Ronald and Veronica; sisters-in-law Susan and Helen; and brother-in-law Jack. A celebration of life is scheduled for 1 p.m. on May 18 at Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills.

Donations in his memory can be made to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

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