LOS ANGELES, US - CHARLES Joffe, a dealmaker for Woody Allen who co-produced most of his films and managed other US comedians, has died after a long illness, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was 78.
Joffe died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Centre on Wednesday, the newspaper said.
He and his business partner, Jack Rollins, nurtured comic talents at their New York agency such as Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Lenny Bruce and signed Allen when he was an unknown writing comedy sketches.
They encouraged Allen to perform his own material as a stand-up comic and then negotiated his first movie deal for 'What's Up Pussycat?' in 1965, with Allen acting and writing for the film.
In 1969, Joffe began to produce Allen's films with 'Take the Money and Run.' He is credited as co-executive producer on Allen's upcoming release, 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona,' which features Penelope Cruz and Scarlett Johansson.
The latest film will mark Joffe's 42nd project with Allen, the Times wrote.
Joffe picked up the Best Picture Oscar for Allen's 'Annie Hall' in 1978 while Allen chose to stay away from the ceremonies.
Born in Brooklyn in 1929, he began in talent management by booking bands as a student at Syracuse University.
Allen reportedly valued him for his ability to stand up to Hollywood studios and power brokers to safeguard the director's artistic control over projects.
'He was a fabulous deal maker. That was his real strength,' said his wife, Carol Joffe. -- AFP