During his seven-decade career, Gilardi represented Hollywood legends such as Burt Reynolds, Sylvester Stallone, Jerry Lewis, Shirley MacLaine and Charlton Heston. Longstanding clients who have remained with him until the end include Ann-Margret, Joe Mantegna, Walter Hill, Frankie Avalon and Jaclyn Smith, among many others.
He was also married to actress and former Mouseketeer Annette Funicello from 1965 to 1981; the couple had three children together.
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The Chicago native got his start in talent representation while serving in the U.S. Army, where he was placed in charge of bringing entertainment to the soldiers stationed at Fort Knox. In October 1954, following his completion of service, he began working as an agent with General Artists Corporation, which later joined Creative Management Associates,