AceShowbiz - Steven Spielberg has paid tribute to his frequent casting director Mike Fenton following his passing at the age of 85.
Fenton died from natural causes at his Los Angeles home on 30 December (20).
He spent more than five decades in showbiz, helping to discover actors for Elvis Presley and Jerry Lewis movies, and casting for films like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "The Godfather: Part II".
Fenton worked extensively with Spielberg, starting with the filmmaker's feature film debut "The Sugarland Express" in 1974 and went on to collaborate on "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial", "Empire of the Sun", and three "Indiana Jones" movies as well as "Poltergeist" and the "Back to the Future" trilogy, which the director produced.
Saluting his late friend, Spielberg shared in a statement, "Working with Mike Fenton was like working in a candy store - he made casting a blast. His fervent support of actors was the stuff of legend, and after landing a part, any actor's smile was rarely as wide as Mike's. He helped me get over every moment of indecision when I had three good options and couldn't choose. He was as responsible for some actors getting their big breaks in my films as me."
"He didn't just support actors, he launched crusades," he continued. "And he was a pretty good actor himself, as he would always read off-camera dialogue to create energy and mojo for the person reading for the part. Much like the actors for whom he advocated, Mike loved his role - and those around him loved him so much, and I will miss him dearly."
He was also the co-founder of the American Society of Casting Directors, now known as the Casting Society of America, which was established in 1982.