Top literary agent Morton Janklow dies at 91

Literary agent Morton Janklow, who negotiated book deals for bestselling authors that included multiple president and Pope John Paul II, died at the age of 91.

His death on Wednesday was confirmed by his company Janklow & Nesbit Associates.

A legend in the industry

“Mr. Janklow was arguably America’s most powerful independent literary agent,” the New York Times reported.

“His agency represented such hugely successful commercial writers as Barbara Taylor Bradford, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steel, and Judith Krantz. It also represented Presidents Richard M. Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan, as well as Pope John Paul II, whose collection of essays, ‘Crossing the Threshold of Hope,’ was published around the world in 1994,” it added.

Changing the industry

“By the 1980s, he was routinely securing multimillion-dollar contracts for writers, including several deals that exceeded $25 million. Due in large part to Janklow, agents became the first to see the work of unknown authors,” Variety reported.

“It was an agent’s judgments, often based on sales potential and not public interest, that largely determined what publishers bought and presented to the public,” it added.

Janklow’s agency was co-founded in 1989 and he co-led it as chairman until his passing.

A Syracuse graduate, he founded the Janklow Arts Leadership Program and remained connected with the university.

His impact extended far beyond his life through the many authors and books nurtured under his guidance over decades of dedication.

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