Iconic Hollywood talent broker was 77
Esteemed talent manager and Primetime Emmy-nominated producer Bernie Brillstein, who helped launch such perennial programs as Saturday Night Live and The Muppet Show, died Thursday in Los Angeles at Barlow Respiratory Hospital. He was 77.
Mega-multitasking Brillstein—having worked as agent, manager, producer, studio head and more during his 50-plus years in entertainment—began his journey in the mailroom at William Morris Agency in 1956.
The New York native was a "packaging" trailblazer, one of the first to successfully bring his talent clients together with projects he produced.
He went on to guide such stars and creatives as Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, SNL creator and executive producer Lorne Michaels, Muppets creator Jim Henson, Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jennifer Aniston, Bill Maher, David Spade, Gary Sinise, Courteney Cox, Natalie Portman, Andy Garcia, Jimmy Smits, Martin Short, John Larroquette and many, many more.
In 1969, he founded the Brillstein Co, which later became Brillstein-Grey Entertainment upon partnering with Brad Grey in 1991 and Brillstein Entertainment Partners in 2007.
Brillstein's 1999 memoir, Where Did I Go Right? You're No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead, remained a Los Angeles Times best-seller for 10 weeks.
He is survived by his wife, Carrie; three sons, Michael, David and Nick; two daughters, Kate and Leigh; his son-in-law Abe and grandson, Alden.
Bernie Brillstein talks with the Archive of American Television
In October 2001, the Archive of American Television interviewed respected entertainment power broker Bernie Brillstein.
The complete interview is available for viewing at the AAT office, located on the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences plaza in North Hollywood. You will be available for viewing online soon. Contact the Television Archive at (818) 754-2800 for more information.
To learn more about this life and works of this American Archive of Television personality online, please visit the Archive of American Television Update blog.