Literary Agent Lew Weitzman Dies at 75

Courtesy of Michael Saltzman

He formed the Preferred Artists Agency in 1988 after working at MCA, WMA and his own Lew Weitzman and Associates.

Lew Weitzman, a Hollywood agent for more than a half-century, died June 30 of brain cancer in Los Angeles. He was 75.

His sons are Matt Weitzman, a co-creator of Fox/TBS sitcom American Dad!, and Paul Weitzman, an agent at Preferred Artists Agency. Their father founded Preferred in 1988.

After military service, the senior Weitzman joined MCA, then the largest talent agency in the world. In 1966, he began a seven-year relationship with the William Morris Agency, specializing in writers and producers.

Weitzman in 1973 formed Lew Weitzman and Associates, which he supervised for the next 10 years, then sold the firm to the Sy Fisher Company, a division of Taft Entertainment.

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He became head of the agency unit and remained there until 1988, when a WGA strike that lasted 155 days disrupted production. Weitzman launched Preferred Artists later that year and remained active at his agency until November.

Weitzman’s clients included Dallas producer Leonard Katzman; writers James Lee Barrett (Smokey and the Bandit, The Green Berets), Jim Byrnes (Gunsmoke), John McGreevey (My Three Sons), John Baskin (Good Times), Roger Shulman (Good Times), Jay Moriarty & Mike Milligan (The Jeffersons) and Ann Beckett (Rich Man, Poor Man — Book II); and actor-writer-director Dick Christie.

Weitzman graduated in 1955 from Los Angeles High School, where he served as student body president. At UCLA, he specialized in international relations and graduated in 1959.

For the past 20 years, he was an active member of the Valleyaires, a men’s chorus in the San Fernando Valley, as well as a tenor in several barbershop quartets.

Survivors also include his wife of 48 years, Dale, and five grandsons.

The family asks that donations be made in Weitzman’s name to The Art of the Brain, a charitable organization fighting brain cancer. 

A memorial service will take place at 2 p.m. on July 24 at Directors Guild of America headquarters at 7920 Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles.