Terry Jill Saperstein, a New York City talent manager who ran Nani-Saperstein Management for nearly 50 years, died Dec. 20 in Maplewood, N.J., after a long illness. She was 73.
For many years, Saperstein displayed a natural affinity for elevating artists. In the 1980s, she produced and directed weekly Manhattan cabaret “The Early Show,” aimed towards nurturing young talent. Saperstein and her late husband, Dan Nani, created talent agency Nani-Saperstein Management, with Nani managing the adults and Saperstein managing the children.
The two led the agency together until Nani’s death in 1998, upon which Saperstein took on the task of managing the entire organization herself. Her willingness to take on responsibility, her discipline and her drive to do right by the artists she represented informed her work. During the many years she spent working with talent, Saperstein contributed to the rise of actors such as Danny Gerard, Danielle Rose Russell, Tichina Arnold, Ricki Lake and Joseph Manzello.
Beyond developing her clients’ careers, Saperstein was deeply invested in supporting their skills. She co-designed and taught a class called “The Business of Acting” for 20 years. Featuring guest lecturers and a special curriculum, “The Business of Acting” was intended to help participants further develop their craft, a testament to Saperstein’s holistic consideration of talent.
Many of her beloved friends and close colleagues took to social media to share their memories of Saperstein.
“I spent 5 years working alongside this remarkable woman at her talent management company. I learned so much about passion, persistence and love,” wrote talent agent David Krasner on Facebook. “She made an indelible impression on so many of us. A real truth-teller. When she believed in an artist, the sky was the limit.”
“Terry and I met in high school and immediately became best friends,” longtime friend Judith Marx posted. “Terry was my Maid of Honor when Bernie & I were married … My dear, sweet Terry, rest easy until we meet again.”
Vocal coach Celeste Simon expressed, “36 years of what started out as business, became a friendship, we shared one of the greatest laughs of my life … I’m gonna miss you my Teti.”
Saperstein is survived by her brother, Alan Saperstein; her nephew, Stephen Saperstein; her niece, Cathy Saperstein; her great-nephew, David Saperstein; and her dog, Koko.