Thursday, August 26, 2010

NORMAN BROKAW-CHAIRMAN EMERITUS OF WME






Norman Brokaw, a true gentleman and one of my favorite people ever, has moved his office out of the William Morris building to one across the street in yet another building that had been owned by WM. Norman was the last WM employee to move out of that building. He started at WM in 1943 when he was 18, and made $25 a week (take home $17.50). He lived with a Murphy bed in a place for $65 a week. He's now chairman emeritus and WM sold three buildings in Bev Hills for $43 million. Congratulations Norman. He also just received the Governors Award from the TV Academy, the first agent to ever do so. Because of Danny Thomas and Bill Cosby, Norman packaged legendary TV shows. He has also represented three US presidents, Barbara Walters, Nancy Pelosi, Susan Hayward, Barbara Stanwyck, Clint Eastwood, Natalie Wood, and his long-time client (46 years) Kim Novak. Note her self-portrait on the wall.
His new office is just gorgeous, with big windows overlooking trees, his own conference room, and plenty of room for his signed photos. Now 83, Norman is still a dapper, brilliant gentleman. For cufflinks, he alternates between the gold William Morris cufflinks he got on his 30th anniversary of being an agent, and the sapphire presidential seal cufflinks that he was given by President Ford.

8 comments:

former WMA agent said...

When he agreed to bring Jim Wiatt, a multi decade enemy from ICM, the first thing Wiatt did was to remove the paintings of Abe Lastfogel and William Morris from the agebcy lobby "into storage." He next began looking to get into a new building and attempted to buy Kirk Kerkorian's white elephant on Crescent. If Ari Emanuel had said to anyone in the industry three years ago "I want to buy William Morris," they would have thought him nuts. But Norman Brokaw, in the first encounter with cowardice, permitted the elimination of the tribute to the company's founders as well as a "merger" with Endeavor that was, in essence, a total destruction of the 114 year old agency. The sole purpose was to come into the cashflow from the $148 million building sale (not $48 million, Sue!)and the legendary packaging commissions. The new owners fired many longtime employees including those who were bringing in tons of money. The immediate change of the corporate name and a moronic and temporary logo was created by the idiot savant Emanuel and they began the exiting of the three WMA buildings.

Your dear friend Brokwaw witnessed all of this happening and did absolutely nothing to stop it, or slow it and even voted for it! I can hear the sound of Sam Weisbord when concerned about an agent's misstep. "We are sewing the seeds of our own destruction." How prophetic, Sam.

One of the fired agents, John Ferriter, went back to the El Camino WMA building to pick up some papers and witnessed a handyman removing the WMA logo from the front of the building. He watched as the worker brought it to a trash can and dumped it in. So much for 114 years and 60 odd years in Beverly Hills. Ferriter retrieved it and displays it in his new office at a new company.

And that is Norman Brokaw's true legacy.

Anonymous said...

Truly well stated.

There is a saying that was coined by a young WMA trainee in NY in the 90s. "WMA, where only the weak survive."You see, agents are wannabes. They follow. In the 70s 80s every agent smoked because it was the thing to do. You see, anybody with talent or balls left the agency to pursue bigger and better rewards. If you were quiet, hid behind your desk, didn't ruffle feathers, you could survive. The survivors at WMA were always the weak. The scared. I guess I agree, that would make poor Norman the weakest of them all.

Anonymous said...

You are obviously two cowards who do not have enough guts to even sign your own names to your idiotic statements regarding a true legend...

Soapluvva said...

I would love to meet Norman Brokaw. It's so incredible to think that he spent such a lengthy professional career at one company.

Back in the 1960s, he married Susan Weintraub, who used to live in my Queens, NY apartment building. I was friendly with Susan's sister, Shari, and her mother, Mina. Susan and Shari's cousin, Sammy, was one of my childhood friends during our elementary school and junior high years.

During the summers of 1967 and 1968, Sammy, along with his parents, Adolf and Estelle, were guests of Norman and Susan in Beverly Hills.

In 1967, one of the things that Norman did was take Sammy, Adolf, and Estelle on a VIP tour of the 20th Century Fox Studios in LA, and bring them onto the set of "Lost in Space," which was filming the third episode of the third season, "Kidnapped in Space."

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8461b_lost-in-space-kidnapped-in-space_shortfilms

When Sammy got back to NYC, he told me about having met cast members, and having seen alien women with silver makeup on and big hairdos. I couldn't wait until the episode aired a few weeks later to see these aliens that Sammy had mentioned. In fact, Sammy and his parents came over to watch the episode with me.

Sammy gave me a Los Angeles edition of TV Guide as a souvenir (which is what I had asked him to bring me back). It had Norman Brokaw's address label on the cover -- some house on Vick Place. I still have the TV Guide in one of my storage cartons.

Anonymous said...

I interviewed with Mr. Brokaw at his old WM office in about 1990, to be a companion to his young adult daughter who had some independence issues. Lovely young lady who'd I'd met through a school where she went and I was employed in a low position; she hand-picked me to be this companion for her, and we had lots of fun together while it lasted. I was a mother figure, a sister figure, a friend and teacher for her. We did lots of enrichment things together, from voice lessons, nutrition counseling, tennis at the private club, etc. I remember that I named my price in that interview, and Mr. Brokaw surprised me with not only accepting that price, but insisting that he add a generous chunk on top which he would keep in a savings for me so he could be sure I had enough to save some. What a guy! He bragged about representing Priscilla Presley as a writer at that time. Then, when he fired me suddenly for no good reason, all those good feelings about him being a good guy disappeared. I didn't deserve to be fired (maybe a small talking-to over my very minor impatience one day). But, Mr. Brokaw was not ungenerous with my pay. He payed up, all that he owed and promised and probably some severance pay, too. I was googling his daughter, out of curiousity, and came across this discussion of him.

The Hollywood Sentinel said...

Two facts;

1, There are always two sides to any story, and

2, anyone that does not use their name when attacking someone in public has something to hide and may not be a credible source of infomration

www.BruceEdwin.com

Suzane Brokaw said...

I'm the Suzane Weintraub that someone commented about my uncle Adolfo and Sam my cousin. I am now Suzane Brokaw and you said you lived in my building in Queens. Please email contact Suzanebrokaw@gmail.com. I am the one who was married to Norman Brokaw and it will be fun to reconnect since I do not know who you are. Hope you read this

Stewart Tracy said...

I want to share about the Norman Brokaw I knew. In about 1989-90 the company I worked for Paster Construction was remodeling Mr Brokaw's home for about 6-8 months. I worked there daily for about 6-8 months and every morning Mr Brokaw would go around to each of the workers (about 6-7 guys)and find out who wanted fresh coffee or some toast or breakfast if we wanted it. Mind you he had a housekeeper who he could have asked to make it for us, but it was him who fixed the toast or coffee the way we wanted it. Here was the CEO of The William Morris Agency serving us daily. The halls of his home lined with pictures of him with Presidents & major movie stars, but he treated you as if you were the most important person he could serve. He knew every worker by name whether you were a painter, carpenter or the trash hauler. On the occasions when he may be having company come over for the weekend and asked us to clean up an area etc, you had everyone jumping to clean up and do anything he wanted, not because he was our customer but because he was so kind and thoughtful. Every Friday he wanted to know what you were doing for the weekend and every Monday he would ask about how was the weekend with your daughter etc. He never gave me any advice, but he taught me how to treat others. I'll NEVER, I mean NEVER forgot how I and the crew were treated. I totally understand why he was head of the Agency. One of the nicest gentlemen I have ever met. God Bless you Norman