Robert Lasky, Hollywood Lawyer and APA Co-Founder, Dies at 91

Lasky passed away of complications from sepsis at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, his family announced

Last Updated: September 25, 2020 @ 1:25 PM

Robert Lasky, a Hollywood attorney and co-founder of the Agency of the Performing Arts (APA) whose client list included Liberace, Johnny Cash, Brigitte Bardot and Harry Belafonte to name a few, died on Sept. 16. Lasky was 91.

Lasky passed away of complications from sepsis at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, his family announced.

Lasky played as integral role in the founding of APA which launched in 1962. Lasky co-founded the agency in New York alongside fellow co-founders David Baumgarten, Roger Vorce and Harvey Litwin. APA would expand and opened up offices in Los Angeles, Nashville, Atlanta, Toronto and London and has a client list  which include Academy Award winner Gary Oldman, singer Mary J. Blige, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Famke Janssen.

A Brooklyn-born native of Russian and Hungarian descent, Lasky came from a long line of lawyers. Lasky attended Harvard University, where he was elected Phi Betta Kappa and graduated Magna Cum Laude in 1951. Lasky earned his LL.B. from Yale School of Law in 1955. Lasky would end up getting recruited by the War Department during the Korean War and became an analyst.

Lasky launched his legal career at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind & Garrison before venturing out on his own and forming his own practice on Madison Avenue at the age of 32. Lasky would end up working with such clients as Brigitte Bardot, Josephine Baker, Tony Bennet, Italian writer-producer Franco Cristaldi (“Cinema Paradiso”), Marcello Mastroianni and Harry Belafonte.

During this time, Lasky’s personal and professional relationships included a who’s who list of notables from the arenas of film, art and literature such as Sophia Loren, legendary musicians such as Les Paul, singular French artist Philippe Petite (“Man on Wire”), and American novelist James Jones (“From Here To Eternity”) who once reminisced in a letter of an evening in Paris, “I immensely enjoyed that night that you and I sat up somewhat stoned, talking about all those multitudinous things which people somehow seem to feel they will be penalized by God, or Someone, if they even mention them. I have not forgotten that night.”

Outside of the movie industry, Lasky contributed to the founding of the advertising agency Lois Holland Callaway. Lasky also worked with The Paris Review founders Peter Matthiessen and George Plimpton in an effort to ensure robust legal representation was available to emerging writers.

Lasky continued practicing law into his late 80s. One of Lasky’s most recent dealings was helping to facilitate the acquisition of the Les Paul music archives by the Library of Congress.

Lasky is survived by his wife of 55 years, Astrid, and their two children, Alexander and Clarissa. A memorial will be held in the Spring 2021, pending COVID-19.