Larry Brezner, Veteran Manager and Producer, Dies at 73
Instrumental in the careers of Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and singer Melissa Manchester, his ex-wife, he produced such films as 'Throw Momma From the Train' and 'Good Morning, Vietnam.'
Larry Brezner, the well-respected manager and producer who was instrumental in the careers of comic legends Robin Williams and Billy Crystal, died Monday night of complications from leukemia. He was 73.
Brezner, a principal in Brezner Steinberg Partners, had spent the past three months in the City of Hope cancer facility in Pasadena, his longtime business partner, David Steinberg, told The Hollywood Reporter.
Brezner most recently produced the Kevin Hart-Ice Cube comedy Ride Along (2014) and was on board for its 2016 sequel.
Earlier, he produced such films as Throw Momma From the Train (1987), starring Crystal; Good Morning, Vietnam (1987), for which Williams earned his first Oscar nomination; The ’Burbs (1989); The Vanishing (1993); Freddie Got Fingered (2001); and The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005).
For seven years in the 1970s, Brezner was married to singer Melissa Manchester, who had a huge hit in 1978 with “Don’t Cry Out Loud.” He also managed her career.
A native of the Bronx, Brezner owned a failing health-food restaurant/club on the Upper West Side (he met Manchester when she performed there) before landing a job with the Rollins and Joffe talent agency, then home to Woody Allen and Robert Klein.
Steinberg said that Brezner discovered Williams in an acting class and convinced Crystal, then a Long Island substitute teacher and a member of a comedy act called 3’s Company, that he could be a successful comedian on his own.
Steinberg was a publicist for such Las Vegas acts as Sammy Davis Jr. and Petula Clark when he met Brezner, who was managing Martin Mull at the time. They joined forces almost 40 years ago.
In 2005, the licensing giant CKX Inc., led by Robert F.X. Sillerman, acquired Morra, Brezner, Steinberg & Tenenbaum Entertainment Inc. The partnership was an ill fit, Steinberg said, and Brezner and Steinberg got their company back five years later.
Brezner caught the producing bug when Charles H. Joffe of Rollins and Joffe produced the 1981 comedy hit Arthur, starring Dudley Moore. The company put Allen’s entire crew on the film to help support untested director Steve Gordon, who had written the screenplay.
Brezner then produced the 2011 Arthur remake starring Russell Brand.