Norman Brokaw's Mentee Pens Tribute to the Legendary William Morris Agent

Courtesy of Sam Haskell
From left: Sam Haskell, Norman Brokaw and Jerry Katzman in 1997.

"His stories about Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, Barbara Stanwyck and Loretta Young were spellbinding," Sam Haskell writes as he remembers working under the wing the the agency stalwart, who died Oct. 29 at 89.

I called him Uncle Norman. I began my career in the mailroom at William Morris on Oct. 23, 1978. His stories about Marilyn Monroe, Kim Novak, Barbara Stanwyck and Loretta Young were spellbinding.

He made sure I was introduced to WMA's most successful agents — Jerry Katzman, Tony Fantozzi, Lou Weiss and Larry Auerbach. In 1995 I became worldwide head of television, and Norman and I lunched regularly at Hillcrest Country Club, where he introduced me to his most important clients: Bill Cosby, Gerald Ford, C. Everett Koop, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Mary Hart, Jaleel White and Liza Minnelli.

I learned so much from Norman about TV packaging — he practically created the concept. His stories of working with Danny Thomas and Sheldon Leonard to create such hits as The Danny Thomas Show, Gomer Pyle, The Andy Griffith Show and That Girl solidified my belief in his wisdom and thought process. No one was smarter than him. His advice about agenting mirrored a line from Rudyard Kipling's If—: "If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you … "

Haskell leads the Miss America Organization and executive produced Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors for NBC via his Warner Bros. deal.

comments powered by Disqus