Russ Faber: He stayed 'real' despite glitz of show business

In the often unreal world of show business, Russ Faber kept his focus on things that were real, friends and family members say.

The nationally known talent agent and marketing guru was a friend to the stars and ran many opening-night movie events amid Tinseltown's glitz. But his favorite roles were as the husband of Robin, his wife of 27 years, and father of Jade, 14, herself an aspiring actress.

"There wasn't an event, a performance or anything our daughter was involved with that he wasn't there right by her side or nearby," Robin said. "Everything he did, he did for us, to make sure we would be OK; it was all for us, all for us."

Faber, 52, of Ormond Beach, died Saturday from complications of cancer.

A former Daytona Beach marketing director turned entrepreneur, Faber and his wife built their small modeling and talent agency, Creative Entertainment Group Inc., into a multimillion-dollar enterprise. Their clients ranged from local restaurants to major corporations such as Ford Motor Co. and Anheuser-Busch.

Whether negotiating corporate deals or organizing local golf tournaments, Faber always showed grace and character, said modeling expert Lisa Maile of Winter Park, who coached and trained a number of Faber's models.

"He was just a very kind, giving person who always acted honorably and with integrity," she said. "I respected him so much because he was so dedicated to bringing out the best in everyone around him. In a business that can get very, very tough, Russ and Robin always did it the right way."

Faber's agency promoted and managed celebrity brands and entertainment careers through its affiliation with the Screen Actors Guild. It also managed nonprofit events and professional security services. He traveled the world in the entertainment industry, becoming friends with Hollywood A-listers such as John Travolta and Forest Whitaker.

"Russ Faber was one of the most generous, respectful gentlemen I've ever known – elegant and thoughtful," Travolta said in an email to the Sentinel. "And we are all better for knowing him. To say he will be missed is just not enough."

No matter how big a player he became, however, Faber was always the same down-to-earth guy back home, said CMG executive Wendy Bentley.

"Outwardly, we seemed to be a big company, but here in the office, he made us all feel like family," she said. "He cared deeply about all of us, and he made everyone feel special."

Actor Dylan McDermott, a childhood friend of Faber's in their native Connecticut, recalled how Faber would line up promotional appearances for him — such as throwing out the first pitch at a Mets game or having a street named for him in their hometown.

"He'd do stuff like that, just because he knew it meant a lot to me," McDermott said in a phone interview. "He was a magic maker, that's what I called him. He had that ability to get things done. And the best thing about Russ was that he was always the same great guy; he had that goodness and honesty you want in a true friendship, especially in this business."

In addition to his wife and daughter, Faber is survived by his mother, Priscilla, of Seymour, Conn.; brothers Robert Faber of Titusville and Richard Faber of Wethersfield, Conn.; and sister Cindy Gavin of Bethany, Conn. Lohman Funeral Home, Ormond Beach, is handling arrangements.

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