Film casting great Alixe Gordin (nee Alixe Glas) died on Wednesday, November 28, at her home in Duxbury, Massachusetts. She was 96.
She was a renowned Emmy-winning casting director who worked with such luminary directors as Alan Pakula, John Huston, and Brian De Palma. Ms. Glas lived in New York City during the active part of her career. She lived in Manhattan for 10 years with her partner, Louise Fitzhugh, the author of Harriet the Spy. Ms. Glas and Ms. Fitzhugh were part of a community of creative lesbian women which included many artists and writers living in New York in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s). At age 91, Ms. Glas married Dr. Georgiana Jagiello, her partner of many years. Dr. Jagiello was the Director of the Center for Reproductive Sciences at Columbia University where she was part of the team responsible for the first IVF birth in New York City; she was also the first woman appointed to an endowed chair at Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Alixe was born on April 10, 1922 in Dayton, Ohio. Her father, Clifford Glas, was an electrical contractor. Her mother, Frances Glas, was likely an inspiration for Alixe as a successful businesswoman and a feminist. Alixe attended Hollywood High School and the University of Arizona, Tucson. For a time she worked as a disc jockey on a jazz station and she acted and sang with a big band. She then moved to New York City and made a living as an actress -– taking the surname Gordin as her stage name -- before she found her way into casting in the 1960s, first for theater and then for film. She also cast during the golden age of live television. As a casting director for film, she worked frequently with Alan Pakula throughout the 1970s and 80s, starting with “Sophie’s Choice,” after which she worked only with Mr. Pakula from her office at Pakula Productions. She cast many award-winning films in that era, including “Klute,” “Sophie’s Choice,” and “The Pelican Brief” with Pakula, as well as “Prizzi’s Honor” directed by John Huston and “Scarface,” directed by Brian De Palma.
She won a Primetime Emmy in 1991 for Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Miniseries or a Special for “Separate but Equal,” a series about Thurgood Marshall and starring Sidney Poitier. She played a small role in “See you in the Morning,” also directed by Pakula. Ms. Glas, Ms. Fitzhugh, and Dr. Jagiello were strong women whose pioneering careers led the way for other women to follow. Ms. Glas is well known for her strength of character, talent, and her heart of gold. In an industry often characterized by big egos and questionable ethics, Ms. Glas remained a steadfast advocate for honesty, diversity in casting, and for her good humor and sarcastic wit.
Alixe is survived by her nephews, Richard Glas, of Phoenix, Arizona, and Alan Glas, of Novato, California. Her brother Milton predeceased her.
The family would like to thank all of Alixe’s wonderful caregivers who provided immeasurable comfort in Alixe’s last year.
A funeral service will be held at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Duxbury on Thursday, December 6th at 11:00 AM. Graveside services will follow at the Mayflower Cemetery in Duxbury.