Saturday, May 25, 2024

RIP Beloved Talent Agent Kenny DeCamillo, 67, Depended on By Stars Like Aretha Franklin, Regis Philbin, Diana Ross, and More


I put off writing this yesterday because the news was so upsetting.

Kenny DeCamillo died on Tuesday at age 67. He was brilliant and funny, always smiling, but serious about his clients. For 30 years he was a star agent at William Morris representing and booking A list acts. His death is really awful.

I knew Kenny two ways — one because he worked with Aretha Franklin and the other through Regis Philbin. They loved him and depended on him. I will never forget when Kenny showed up in a blizzard in 2015 at Aretha’s show in Bridgeport, Connecticut. I said, Kenny, where did you come from? He shook the show off his trench coat. “Oyster Bay Long Island!” he said.

He called me “Rog,” which most people are not allowed to do. He was friends, legitimately, with everyone. He was always in a good mood, even when things in showbiz were bad. This was remarkable. I’ll tell you a secret: Kenny saw Seth Meyers guest host with Kelly Ripa after Regis left, and told me Seth would be a serious contender to take over the job. This was before Seth got his late night gig. I ran with that rumor and we had a lot of fun with it. But I don’t think Seth wanted to get up so early in the morning.

All this year when we talked, we kept saying we were going to have lunch, with our mutual pal, Mark Simone. The next time someone says that to you, do it. I am so sorry we never did. I’ve lost so many friends at a (relatively) young age who were agents, managers, personal reps. It looks like a glamorous job, but it’s not. It’s hard work and a little thankless. I just hope Kenny got to enjoy his time here with his wife and his daughter. (He has a serious stroke about three weeks ago and never recovered.) I know his friends all enjoyed him so much. Thanks for everything, Kenny. See you on the other side.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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