Johnnie Planco, the longtime New York-based WMA agent who partnered with Gene Parseghian in the management/production company Parseghian Planco, has died. Planco passed away on Sunday, June 2 in New York City, after struggling with an infection that quickly affected both his brain and respiratory system. He was 68.
Planco was born and raised in New York City, as was his father and grandfather, latter of whom was a Rough Rider under Teddy Roosevelt. Planco joined the famed WMA mailroom after graduating Fordham U at Lincoln Center with a BA in Theater. This was in 1972, and he would remain with that agency until 2000.
In those 28 years he became the youngest Department Head and Senior Vice President in the agency’s history, running both the Motion Picture department in New York and creating and running the William Morris Talent Department. Among the clients he represented were Tom Hanks, Richard Gere, John Malkovich, Rock Hudson, Sterling Hayden, Lauren Bacall, Peter O’Toole, Richard Harris, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau, Ben Gazzara, Madeline Kahn, Vincent Gardenia, Michael Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Susan Sarandon, John Cassavettes, Abel Ferrarra and Robert Altman. He was a familiar figure around New York film events, often with the elegant icon Bacall, and he was well liked.
He left WMA to partner with another New York stalwart from that agency, Gene Parseghian. Their company, Parseghian Planco, repped Daniel Day-Lewis, Paul Schrader, F. Murray Abraham, Rosemary Harris, Alexander Dinelaris, Don Scardino, Judi Dench, Phylicia Rashad, Scott Glenn and Leiber & Stoller. In 2002 they merged with Los Angeles-based Untitled Entertainment, which added Naomi Watts, Ashton Kutcher and Penelope Cruz to the stable.
Parseghian Planco produced two feature films: Perfume with Peter Gallagher, Omar Epps and Jeff Goldblum, and Paul Schrader’s The Walker with Woody Harrelson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Lauren Bacall, Lily Tomlin, Willem Dafoe and Ned Beatty. They also produced the William Mastrosimone play The Stone Carver at the Soho Playhouse.
Parseghian died in 2017.
Planco was a member of the Board of Advisors of Fordham University at Lincoln Center, and the President Emeritus of The Players Club in New York City.
He is survived by his wife, Lois; his son, Alfred; his daughter-in-law Tiffany; and his daughter Sara, a publicist at Viewpoint in New York.
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