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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (7) | Personal Quotes (15)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 26 April 1931New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 7 August 2008Los Angeles, California, USA  (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease)
Birth NameBernard J. Brillstein

Mini Bio (1)

Bernie Brillstein was born on April 26, 1931 in New York City, New York, USA as Bernard J. Brillstein. He is known for his work on Ghostbusters (1984), Just Shoot Me! (1997) and NewsRadio (1995). He was married to Carrie Brillstein and Deborah Koskoff. He died on August 7, 2008 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

Spouse (2)

Carrie Brillstein (1998 - 7 August 2008) (his death)
Deborah Koskoff (? - ?) (divorced) (2 children)

Trivia (7)

One half of the production team, "Brillstein-Grey Productions". His partner is Brad Grey.
Had daughter Leigh Brillstein with his first wife. Had son Michael Brillstein and daughter Kate Brillstein with his second wife, Deborah. Sons David Koskoff and Nicholas Koskoff are Deborah's children from a former marriage. Has a grandson, Alden.
Born in Manhattan to Moe and Tillie Brillstein. Growing up, his family lived with his uncle, Ziegfield Follies star Jack Pearl.
Received a degree in advertising from New York University.
Nephew of Jack Pearl.
Began his career in the mail-room at the William Morris agency.
He was a Hollywood talent agent, manager, producer, and studio executive during his long career.

Personal Quotes (15)

I'm proud of my career and everything we've done, and I'm known for a lot of things including having my foot in the door for movies. But mainly I've been known as a guy with an eye for talent. I mean, this company, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, it has such a depth of talent, not only in our clients, but in the team here. So we have this great entrée and we seem to see every script. In all honesty we've done well in television, so movies have always been like a luxury for us.
Now that's classic agenting. We got a dead person a $250-a-week raise. I knew I was in the right business. (from his 1999 memoir "Where Did I Go Right? -- You're No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead", describing a Broadway musical contract he helped negotiate for an actress, only to discover that she had been dead for four years)
When David Brown started being David Brown, he went out and found all these great properties and I ended up doing Neighbors (1981) with he and Richard D. Zanuck, and they were such gentlemen. These guys cared about the movies. They came from different stock, a different class these guys were. They were just people who loved the business and had Honor.
On getting offered the role of Studio Chief in 1988: I'd do half the day there, then the other half here...so maybe I never really left...
When I first came to town in 1967, none of the other established Hollywood agencies really cared I existed, then we became solid competition and they began threatening me saying they'd go to Sacramento and claim I was selling people, which a manager is not supposed to do, so I said: 'fine, you want to make accusations in Sacramento... I'll tell them how you guys steal money on the package agreements'... Well, that shut them up and they left me alone.
...Consider this 're-make' business that is taking away opportunities for new ideas and new films to happen. If the movie was made right the first time, why make it again? The only reason this is happening is it has become a safer way for the Studios.
Producing isn't as profitable as most people think. A lot of times there are key people on the crew making more money than us.
...And socially all of us from the old movie gang used to hang out together on the weekends and we'd have parties, we'd root for one another, we'd lend each other money, we'd play poker together and laugh and cry together. Today you don't find people hanging out like that. There's something wrong with that...
A side story: After Belushi's death I had moved to Connecticut because I wanted to get away from here for a while. And I took my son Michael, who was six years old at the time, to see Ghost Busters at the local theater. It was lined up, mobs of people waiting to see it. He loved it and when we came out of the seven o'clock showing there was a crowd and a large poster for the movie and Michael pushed through everyone, ran right up to it, shouting: 'Oh look dad, your name is on it'! He was so proud and thrilled and he wanted everyone to know the Brillstein name was part of that picture.
...you can't just say (anymore): 'I'm going to develop a movie for the next year' ...because there'll be thousands of people in your way. It's just not fun anymore to get out there and get a picture made.
Listen, in the early nineties many of us thought the business was finished, the pictures became stale and it seemed like a dark time. Then who comes right through the middle with these great movies?... The Weinsteins! And all of a sudden Harvey and Bob brought good movies back in to style again.
...I was really the only kid around in those places. It helped teach me a lot of things, mainly: shut your mouth when you don't know anything and listen and learn, and when you had something to say you could be adorable. That's how I lived my life.
[on Saturday Night Live] ...the first guy Lorne gave me was Chevy Chase, but Chevy told everyone he was leaving the show after a year because he thought he was competition to Lorne Michaels ... Which, of course, he never was.
I was in and out of the mailroom at William Morris in about two months, which became a new record. My immediate conclusion... I was going to have a great career in this business.
The words of comedy are death. 'I killed them. I laid them in the aisle. I blew their head off. I murdered them'. It's all death. It's how far you can take a human being.

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