Morris Stoller, chairman and chief operating officer of the William Morris Agency, the nation’s largest collector of talent, died Monday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Stoller, 74, who died of cancer, had been board chairman since December, 1980. His elevation at that time marked a major reorganization of the Morris agency, founded in 1898 by William Morris, a German immigrant who once operated his own vaudeville theaters.
Two Morris veterans--Abe Lastfogel and Nat Lefkowitz--were made chairmen emeritus and seven new members were added to the board of directors.
The shift was seen as a reflection of the expanded and international nature of the entertainment industry in general and the Morris agency in particular.
“Now we’ll be developing the younger manpower to take over the leadership,” Stoller said. He had been credited with forming Morris’ international division in the 1950s, which now has offices in London, Rome and Munich.
Stoller, considered a television expert, earlier had helped school such talent as Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Bill Cosby and former President Gerald R. Ford in the financial aspects of that industry.
Stoller joined the New York office of the agency in 1937 after receiving a law degree from Brooklyn Law School. He also was a certified public accountant.
His funeral will be held at noon Wednesday at Hillside Memorial Park in West Los Angeles.
Survivors include his wife, Gertrude, and two daughters, Barbara Jaffa and Debra Stoller, who ask contributions in Stoller’s memory to Cedars’ Cancer Research Programs or Vista del Mar, a Los Angeles residential treatment center for emotionally disturbed children.