THR's Women in Entertainment 2012: Power 100
Cooper has been an agent for nearly 40 years since she decided to go back to work after her second son was born and her husband, Bienstock founder and president, Richard Leibner, convinced her to join him as an agent. "I didn't think we could be married and work together," she recalls. "I said, 'You have to give me at least a year to decide if I want to keep working with you.' " She started out representing local news reporters and now has a client list of national news stars including Bill O'Reilly, Anderson Cooper and Lara Logan. And many of them have been clients since they were toiling in local television.
Moment I knew I wanted to work in the business: My father, Sidney Cooper, was a musician with the NBC staff orchestra. I went to rehearsals and live TV shows, and that was when I knew I had to be in the entertainment business.
Who gave me my first big break: Harold Friedman. He had a production company in New York, and he gave me my first job as a producer of TV commercials.
Favorite way to unwind on the weekend: Hang out at my beach house on Fire Island, N.Y.
Proudest moment this year: Lara Logan was named the first full-time correspondent on 60 Minutes since 2004 and the first woman since 1990.
What I'd tell my 22-year-old self about working in Hollywood: "Be a good listener and be truthful. That is how you earn people's respect."
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