Stephen Blauner

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Jules Stephen Blauner (September 19, 1933), commonly known as Steve Blauner, was Bobby Darin's manager and very close friend,[1] producer, and member of BBS Productions.

Early life[edit]

Blauner was born to Eugene and Marion. They settled in New York City where Blauner was born. Blauner was born on 81st St. across from the Hayden Planetarium. When he was in kindergarten, the family moved to White Plains, 45 minutes from Broadway. He had a childhood friend, film and TV producer Bert Schneider, and the two were inseparable, remaining so until Schneider's death in 2011. Blauner loved Al Jolson from the start. When he was 13, he saw The Jolson Story 18 times. It turned him on to show business.

Blauner and Sammy Davis[edit]

While Blauner was serving his time in the military, he went to the Copacabana where Sammy Davis Jr. was performing. Blauner idolized Davis and introduced himself during a break. “The way you feel about Frank Sinatra," he said, "is the way I feel about you”. The two became friends. After Blauner’s time in the military was up, he and Davis saw each other often.

Blauner and Bobby Darin[edit]

Blauner had just entered the entertainment business and was an agent at GAC, at that time the third largest agency in the world. He met with Harriet Wasser and took Darin under his wing. Blauner, having just started in the business, had no experience in management, but everything he knew he passed along to Darin. He signed Darin with GAC, not caring that he might "screw up his life". He got Darin his first gig in Connecticut and Blauner was wowed. Sometime in 1958, Blauner got transferred to California and Darin was there too. Blauner was sharing a house with a guy who worked for Sammy Davis and Darin would sleep on the couch. The two where driving on Sunset Blvd. when Darin said, “I want you to manage me”. Blauner almost crashed the car. He said no because it’s not ethical, him being in the agency, and also because he said, “Bobby, you’re going to be a big star and I don’t know enough, I’ve only been in the business for a minute and a half”. He had turned him down. Later, after he quit GAC, he asked Darin if he still wanted him to be his manager. Darin said “yes” and from then on Blauner was Darin’s official manager until 1965. Blauner once again reminded Darin that he was not a professional and the only other management he did was with Dick Haymes. That was for a very short period until Dick began to drink again, which was early in the management. Darin still said yes. Blauner refers to his management period with Darin as a “comet ride”. One day Darin went to Atlantic Records and said that he wanted to do an album of standards. They wouldn't let him at first because he was a rock and roll singer. Darin finally managed to make the album. It included the famous track, "Mack the Knife".

Blauner and BBS[edit]

Bert Schneider became vice president and treasurer of Screen Gems. Around the time Darin had received his Academy-Award nomination for his character in Captain Newman M.D, Blauner felt that he had done everything he could for Bobby as a manager. They split professionally, but remained friends. Blauner convinced Screen Gems to hire Jackie Cooper as head of the studio. Blauner at that time was also responsible for popular t.v. sitcoms such as, “Bewitched”, “I Dream of Jeannie”, “The Farmer’s Daughter”, and “Hazel”. Most of the sitcoms were ignored by Hollywood. One day Schneider and Bob Rafelson walked up to Blauner and said “We want to do A Hard Day's Night as a T.V. show”. Blauner’s immediate answer was “Go”. They showed The Monkees in NBC studios and as Blauner recalled, the incident went like this: “Right after we showed the pilot, the director of NBC, Mort Warner, stood up and said “I don’t know what the hell we’ve just seen but I think we should put it on the air”. Blauner formed BBS and during that time, they made Easy Rider, Academy-Award winner for best documentary Hearts and Minds, The Monkees series, Five Easy Pieces, The Last Picture Show, The King of Marvin Gardens, A Safe Place, and many more.

Personal life[edit]

Blauner resides in California. He has two daughters, Moon and Grace.

Legacy[edit]

During Blauner’s time, he worked with many entertainers. From Bobby to Sammy, Bert to Bob, The Monkees to Richard Pryor. The list includes Nat Cole, George Burns, Frankie Laine, Johnny Ray, Jack Nicholson, Willie Mays, Jackie Cooper, Huey Newton, Peggy Lee, Bruce Dern, Dennis Hopper, Jimmy Scalia, Dick Haymes, Perry Como, Tony Lema, and the countless cast and crews of his films. Blauner continues to represent the Bobby Darin estate.

Blauner himself appeared in a few videotaped comedy "blackout" sketches for television comedian Ernie Kovacs during the early 1960s. One sketch was entitled "Whom Dunnit", where Blauner played a dimwitted panelist wearing a "Beany Copter" hat and sweatshirt emblazoned with the word "Trenton" (which was a mocking reference by Kovacs to his hometown of Trenton, New Jersey).

He was portrayed by John Goodman in the 2004 Bobby Darin biopic Beyond the Sea.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ (16 December 1994). King of the Hip. San Jose Mercury News, Retrieved November 16, 2010 ("Bobby Darin never put down any music," says his outspoken former manager and close friend Stephen Blauner, 61, who played Colonel Parker to Darin's Elvis")
  2. ^ Clinton, Paul. (17 December 2004). Review: 'Beyond' good, thanks to Spacey, CNN, Retrieved November 16, 2010

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