Amanda Mackey, the busy casting director who worked on The Fugitive and four other films for director Andrew Davis and shared an Emmy nomination for populating Larry Kramer‘s The Normal Heart, has died. She was 70.
Mackey died Saturday at Calvary Hospital in Brooklyn after a battle with myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of blood cancer, longtime business partner Cathy Sandrich Gelfond told The Hollywood Reporter.
She received one Artios Award for her work on A League of Their Own (1993) and shared another one with Sandrich Gelfond for Smokin’ Aces (2006) — she collected 15 Artios nominations in all — and the pair were featured in the eye-opening 2012 documentary Casting By.
Mackey was “an unwaveringly steadfast friend and champion in a time when women weren’t as supportive to other women as they are now,” Sandrich Gelfond said in a statement. “She believed in me, lifted me up and gave me a career. She was the sister I never had and changed my life in countless ways.”
After the Harrison Ford-starring The Fugitive (1993), the pair reteamed with Davis on Steal Big Steal Little (1995), A Perfect Murder (1998), Collateral Damage (2002) and Holes (2003).
“Amanda was a total professional — committed to her craft, spending time in the large and small theaters of New York finding up-and-coming talent ahead of anyone,” Davis said in a statement. “Amanda knew who the pros were, known and unknown.
“For a director, casting is everything. Amanda and Cathy gave you choices that inspired new ways of looking at characters and ways of telling your story. Her body of work in film and television was huge.”
Mackey’s big-screen résumé also included Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins (1985), Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Patriot Games (1992), When a Man Loves a Woman (1994), Murder at 1600 (1997), Ronin (1998), Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), The Cooler (2003), United 23 (2006), 27 Dresses (2008), The Proposal (2009), Olympus Has Fallen (2013) and Bad Moms (2016) and its 2017 sequel.
More recently, she cast the series Sleepy Hollow at Fox and A Million Little Things at ABC.
Born in New York on Sept. 22, 1951, Mackey received her bachelor’s degree in English literature from the University of California at Berkeley and spent a semester at the Sorbonne in Paris.
She began her career as an agent at J. Michael Bloom before pursuing a career in casting with none other than the legendary Marion Dougherty, serving as her assistant on The World According to Garp (1982).
She moved to Los Angeles in 1985. With Sandrich Gelfond, a fellow Berkeley grad, they opened the Mackey Sandrich Casting Co. five years later. When Mackey returned to New York in 1996, their firm became the industry’s first independent bicoastal casting company.
Mackey also executive produced A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints (2006), which starred Robert Downey Jr. and Shia LaBeouf and won a jury prize at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival.
Survivors include her daughters, Nicola and Emma.
“Amanda Mackey was one of a kind,” they said. “Our mother was beautiful, powerful and always stood up for what she believed in. She was terrified of public speaking but could level you with her eyes; she was dynamic and so much fun to be around. She made my sister and me the women we are today.”