Casting Society Co-Founder Was 88

Al Onorato, co-founder of the Casting Society of America and a casting director on such series as “Bewitched,” “Police Story,” “Fame” and “The Patridge Family,” has died. He was 88.

Onorato died April 21 in Los Angeles, his nephew Chris Onorato announced.

Onorato founded the Casting Society of America (then known as the American Society of Casting Directors) with Mike Fenton and Joe Reich in 1982. He and Jerold Franks — his Onorato/Franks Independent Casting partner — won the CSA’s Artios Award for best casting for a comedy film for 1989’s “Bagdad Café.” At the 34th annual Artios Awards in 2019, Onorato received a lifetime achievement award from the organization.

As a talent manager, Onorato was influential in launching the careers of Kristin Chenoweth, Katie Holmes, Mark Harmon, Sean Murray and Elijah Wood. He was also instrumental in reviving Gwen Verdon’s career.

Born Alfred Louis Onorato on Nov. 10, 1935, in Jersey City, N.J., he graduated from Hackensack High School and Fairleigh Dickinson University. After college, Onorato started his career in entertainment by working as a page for NBC Studios in New York City.

Onorato’s other credits as a casting supervisor and/or casting director include “The Fall Guy,” “Fantasy Island,” “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Wild Wild West,” “Bridget Loves Bernie,” “Police Woman,” “The Silence at Bethany,” “CHiPs,” “David Cassidy — Man Undercover,” “Capitol,” “Mr. Merlin” and “Freddy’s Nightmares” and the daytime soap operas “General Hospital,” “Days of Our Lives” and “The Young and the Restless.”

He is survived by his siblings Edward, Ronald and Veronica; sisters-in-law Helen and Susan; brother-in-law Jack; and several nephews and a niece.

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