Legendary talent agent Hilary Linstead dies aged 83 – after helping launch the careers of Baz Luhrmann and Jane Campion
Film producer, casting director and agent Hilary Linstead has died aged 83.
Recognized as a “force of nature” by her family and friends, Linstead died peacefully at her home on August 6 after contracting a form of leukemia.
Linstead is known for nurturing some of Australia’s most celebrated artistic talent, including directors such as Baz Lurhmann (Elvis, Romeo and Juliet), Jane Campion (Power of the Dog) and Gillian Armstrong (Little Women).
Hilary Linstead, founder of Australia’s first talent agency, is dead. She was 83. Pictured here
Linstead was born in London in 1938 and emigrated to Australia to become a professional actor as a member of an English touring company.
She soon realized that acting was not for her and instead found her passion as a casting director, working at International Casting Services and representing actresses.
Linstead then joined Liz Mullinar to found M&L Casting Consultants, which grew into a widely influential company, directing casting for stage productions such as The Rocky Horror Show and Jesus Christ Superstar, as well as Australian films such as Picnic at Hanging Rock and Sunday Too Far Away.
In 1985 she partnered with Viccy Harper to found Hilary Linstead & Associates, where she represented clients including writers Louis Nowra and Andrew Bovell; and cast members Wendy Harmer, Magda Szubanski and Jean Kittson.
The agency was renamed HLA Management in 2000 and is now headed by one of her mentees, Kate Richter.
Tributes poured in for the late star, who is survived by her son Duncan, daughter-in-law Juliette and their three children Scarlett, Paris and Django.
Wendy Harmer tweeted about her friend’s death: “Sad news, the legendary Hilary Linstead passed away last night.
Recognized as a “force of nature” by her family and friends, Linstead died peacefully at her home on August 6 after contracting a form of leukemia
Linstead is known for nurturing some of Australia’s most celebrated artistic talent, including directors such as Baz Lurhmann (pictured).
“She had been unwell for some time and died peacefully at home with her family,” she added.
“My agent, manager and most valuable friend for around 40 years. So many in the theatre, film and comedy scene owe her so much. xxxx valley.”
Author Mandy Sayer said, “We will miss Hilary’s blunt, candid words, her curiosity, her intelligence and her enduring warmth. I absolutely adored her.’
“Hilary’s happiness, enthusiasm and excitement were contagious. If she believed in your talent, she stood up for you,” wrote writer and friend Louis Nowra.
“But beyond that, she was a visionary who believed too many Australians didn’t realize the importance of the arts and she felt it was her job to make sure they did.”
According to Deadline, Linstead was suffering from poor health in 2018 and was later diagnosed with a form of leukemia.