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CAA Veteran Lawyer Ray Kurtzman Dead At 79

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Ray Kurtzman, an entertainment lawyer and one of the original 20 employees when Creative Artists Agency first opened in the 1970s, died last week in his Beverly Hills home at the age of 70.

Kurtzman had been battling complications from Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Kurtzman was hired away from the William Morris Agency by CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz, who had considered Kurtzman a mentor. Kurtzman was named head of business affairs at the company, after serving the entertainment business since 1954. He remained a top lawyer and senior exec at CAA until his retirement in 2001.

Raymond Kurtzman was born May 22, 1927 in Los Angeles, the paper reported, and earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from UCLA and his law degree from USC.

He began his career after passing the state bar in 1954 in the legal department at Allied Artists Pictures. He soon became an in-house counsel at Mirisch Corp. and head of business affairs at Columbia Pictures before joining William Morris, where he served as a television and motion picture attorney and business affairs executive.

Kurtzman is survived by his wife, Lynette; two sons; a daughter and ten grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Motion Picture Television Fund, 22212 Ventura Blvd., Suite 300, Woodland Hills, CA 91364, or the Creative Artists Agency Foundation, 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers