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The late, great Charles Shurtleff graduated from the Yale University School of Drama, where he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree. Then, he started work in the theater as a casting director and production assistant for William Hammerstein in 1957 through 1960, working on musicals for the New York City Center. Shurtleff served on Broadway as casting director on David Merrick Productions including Gypsy (1959), Irma La Douce, A Taste of Honey, Becket, and Do Re Me (1960), Carnival! (1961), Stop the World I Want to Get Off (1962), Oliver! (1963), 1776 (1969), Jesus Christ, Superstar (1971), Pippin (1972), and Chicago (1975).

In addition to casting the films All the Way Home (1963), The Sound of Music (1965), The Sand Pebbles (1966), and the film version of Jesus Christ, Superstar (1973), Shurtleff wrote screenplays and directed Call Me by My Rightful Name (stage 1963, film 1973). He also cast the critically acclaimed television series starring George C. Scott and Cicely Tyson, East Side/West Side (1963), and the brilliant casting of Dustin Hoffman as the lead in the film The Graduate (1975).

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