Bernard Jules Brillstein
April 26, 1931
|Died||August 7, 2008 (aged 77)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Alma mater||New York University|
|Spouse(s)||Laura Smith (m. 1967)|
Deborah Ellen Koskoff (m. 1975)
Carrie Winston Brillstein (1998–2008; his death)
He began his career in the 1950s at the William Morris Agency before founding his own company in 1969 and later joining forces with Brad Grey to helm Brillstein-Grey Entertainment (now Brillstein Entertainment Partners), one of the most important and influential Hollywood talent management and production companies. He is remembered for producing successful TV programs like Hee Haw, The Muppet Show, and The Sopranos, and hit films including The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters and Happy Gilmore.
Bernie Brillstein was born to a Jewish family in Manhattan, to Moe Brillstein and Matilda "Tillie" Brillstein (née Perlman), who all shared the Manhattan home of his uncle, the vaudeville and radio performer Jack Pearl. Brillstein's father, a milliner, was the guiding force behind the building of the Millinery Center Synagogue, a synagogue located in the Garment District in Manhattan.
Brillstein earned his way into show business in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency (WMA) in New York. He worked his way up to talent agent and by the 1960s he was a manager-producer of television programming for the company. Still associated with WMA, in 1964 he joined Management III to continue talent management. In the 1960s, he also co-founded the vocal group The Doodletown Pipers.
The Brillstein Company
By now living in Los Angeles, Brillstein formed The Brillstein Company in 1969. There, he continued to manage stars and develop television programming. He produced such popular television hits as Hee Haw, The Muppet Show and Saturday Night Live.
Brillstein later became manager of SNL alumni Dan Aykroyd, Gilda Radner, John Belushi, Martin Short, and executive producer Lorne Michaels, as well as Jim Henson (of Muppets fame) and Paul Fusco (voice and operator of ALF). He produced such other television shows as Alf: The Animated Series, and Normal Life. He was also exclusive producer to the animation sequel The Real Ghostbusters (based on the hit movie).
In the 1980s, he met Brad Grey at a television convention in San Francisco. In 1991 the two formed a production company, Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, which packages programming and manages talent. They were responsible for such shows as NewsRadio, Just Shoot Me!, The Larry Sanders Show and The Sopranos. As executive producer, Brillstein was responsible for such successes as The Blues Brothers, Ghostbusters, Dragnet, Ghostbusters II, Happy Gilmore and The Cable Guy. Brillstein sold his shares in the company to Grey, his one time protégé, in 1996. Grey sold his interest in the company in 2005. He also represented Nick Swardson for six years prior to his death.
Brillstein's 1999 memoir, Where Did I Go Right?: You're No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead, was co-written with David Rensin. Two years later, he received the honor as recipient of a star on Hollywood Walk of Fame, on April 18, 2001. His second book The Little Stuff Matters Most, a humorous advice collection, was published in 2004.
He was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.
|1980||Up the Academy||Executive producer|
|The Blues Brothers||Executive producer|
|1981||Continental Divide||Executive producer|
|1983||Doctor Detroit||Executive producer|
|1985||Summer Rental||Executive producer|
|Spies Like Us||Executive producer|
|1989||Ghostbusters II||Executive producer|
|1996||Happy Gilmore||Executive producer|
|The Cable Guy||Executive producer|
|1998||The Replacement Killers|
|2000||What Planet Are You From?||Executive producer|
|2002||Run Ronnie Run!||Executive producer|
|2004||Jiminy Glick in Lalawood||Final film as a producer|
|2008||A Federal Case||Acknowledgment|
|1973||The Burns and Schreiber Comedy Hour||Executive producer|
|1974||The Muppets Valentine Show||Executive producer||Television special|
|1981||Open All Night||Executive producer|
|1982||The Valentine's Day That Almost Wasn't||Executive producer||Television special|
|1983||Sitcom||Executive producer||Television film|
|1983−84||Buffalo Bill||Executive producer|
|1985||Big Shots in America||Executive producer||Television short|
|1986||Comedy Factory||Executive producer|
|1987||CBS Summer Playhouse||Executive producer|
|1988||ALF Tales||Executive producer|
|The Boys||Executive producer|
|1989||The Wickedest Witch||Executive producer||Television film|
|It's Garry Shandling's Show||Executive producer|
|1990||Normal Life||Executive producer|
|Don't Try This at Home!||Executive producer||Television film|
|A Very Retail Christmas||Executive producer||Television short|
|1991||Good Sports||Executive producer|
|Space Cats||Executive producer|
|1987−91||The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd||Executive producer|
|1992||The Please Watch the Jon Lovitz Special||Executive producer||Television special|
|1996||For Hope||Executive producer||Television film|
|Mr. Show with Bob and David: Fantastic Newness||Executive producer||Television short|
|1995−97||The Jeff Foxworthy Show||Executive producer|
|Mr. Show with Bob and David||Executive producer|
|The Naked Truth||Executive producer|
|1998||Mr. Show and the Incredible, Fantastical News Report||Executive producer||Television short|
|1999−2000||The Martin Short Show||Executive producer|
|1996−2002||The Steve Harvey Show||Executive producer|
|Politically Incorrect||Executive producer|
|2001−03||Primetime Glick||Executive producer|
|2003||The Lyon's Den||Executive producer|
|1997−2003||Just Shoot Me!||Executive producer|
|2001−04||The Wayne Brady Show||Executive producer|
|2003−04||Comedy Inc.||Executive producer|
- Miscellaneous crew
|1986−91||The Real Ghostbusters||Executive consultant|
- As an actor
|1984||The Ratings Game||Man in Le Boeuf||Television film|
|1984||The Ratings Game||Special thanks||Television film|
|1986||The Garry Shandling Show: 25th Anniversary Special||Television special|
|2008||Saturday Night Live||Dedicatee|
- Bernie Brillstein with David Rensin (1999). Where Did I Go Right?: You're No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead!. Little Brown Inc. ISBN 978-0-316-11885-9 (Chapter One online)
- The Little Stuff Matters Most (2004). Bernie Brillstein with David Rensin ISBN 1-59240-079-5
- "Brillstein, Bernie 1931-2008 (Bernard J. Brillstein, Bernard Jules Brillstein, Bernie J. Brillstein) - Dictionary definition of Brillstein, Bernie 1931-2008 (Bernard J. Brillstein, Bernard Jules Brillstein, Bernie J. Brillstein) - Encyclopedia.com: Free online dictionary". www.encyclopedia.com.
- Jewish Journal: "The Heroes of Jewish Comedy" by Tom Teicholz July 3, 2003
- Brillstein, Bernie; Rensin, David (1999). Where Did I Go Right?: You're No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead! (1st ed.). Boston: Little, Brown. ISBN 978-0-316-11885-9. OCLC 40954091. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
- "Bernie Brillstein Biography" (PDF). Retrieved November 1, 2007.
- Rose, Frank (1995). The Agency: William Morris and the Hidden History of Show Business. New York: Harper. pp. 261, 415.
- "Brillstein-Grey Entertainment". Hoovers. Retrieved November 1, 2007.
- "WTF with Marc Maron Podcast: Episode 88 – Nick Swardson / Joshua Tree". Wtfpod.libsyn.com. July 8, 2010. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
- "Marriage Announcement 15: Brillstein-Smith" (PDF). The New York Times. June 25, 1967. Retrieved September 21, 2015.
- "Brillstein, Bernie 1931– - Dictionary definition of Brillstein, Bernie 1931– - Encyclopedia.com: FREE online dictionary". www.encyclopedia.com.
- Cieply, Michael (August 8, 2008). Bernie Brillstein, Film Producer, Dies. The New York Times