Bernie Brillstein, manager was 77

Bernie Brillstein, the successful Hollywood manager and producer, died last night after suffering from complications following double-bypass heart surgery in February. Here's a snip from Cynthia Littleton's story on the Variety website:

A one-time WMA agent, Brillstein headed Hollywood's most successful management company in the 1980s and in the '90s in partnership with Brad Grey, now chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. Clients whose careers were nurtured at Brillstein-headed shingles also included such biz heavyweights as Lorne Michaels, Gilda Radner, Dan Aykroyd, Brad Pitt, Adam Sandler, Geena Davis, Martin Short, Jim Belushi, Dabney Coleman, Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller, Nicolas Cage, Rob Lowe and Jay Tarses.

In the 1980s, the Brillstein Co. was among the first contempo talent rep shingles to branch out into TV production in a significant way with shows packaged around clients, a list that included "Alf," "It's Garry Shandling's Show," "The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd" and "The Slap Maxwell Story."

In late 1991, when Brillstein partnered with Grey, who had joined Brillstein Co. in the mid-1980s as a manager, the company further expanded the scope of its film and TV operations. Brillstein-Grey Television fielded such noteworthy skeins as "The Sopranos," "Just Shoot Me," "NewsRadio," "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" and "The Larry Sanders Show." Brillstein-Grey Entertainment features included Adam Sandler's "Happy Gilmore," Jim Carrey's "The Cable Guy" and "The Replacement Killers."

From Nikki Finke at Deadline Hollywood Daily:

Bernie Brillstein's longtime partner Brad Grey and his longtime client Lorne Michaels are making arrangements for a memorial service for next week. I'm told his funeral will be private. Like most everyone in Hollywood, I loved Bernie. Because he was that rarity in showbiz, an astute student of Hollywood history who also learned from it. And he understood the proper use of power in this town, as opposed to the abuse of power, in a way most did not.

Also: Anthony Russo, a former Rand researcher on Viet Cong morale who helped Daniel Ellsberg copy and release the Pentagon Papers in 1971, has died at age 71. Nice recounting of the history in Elaine Woo's obit at the L.A. Times.

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