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Bertram Fields (born March 31, 1929) is an American lawyer famous for his work in the field of entertainment law; he has represented many of the leading studios, as well as individual celebrities including Michael Jackson, The Beatles, Warren Beatty, James Cameron, Mike Nichols, Joel Silver, Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Mario Puzo, and John Travolta.
He received his B.A. from University of California, Los Angeles in 1949 and his LL.B. from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude) in 1952. He is a member of the California and New York Bars. In addition to the clients above, he represented George Lucas in contract negotiations with The Walt Disney Company regarding Disney theme parks. He also represented Paramount Pictures in its appeal of the Buchwald v. Paramount case over Coming to America, and in other civil litigation.
Fields represented Jeffrey Katzenberg in landmark action against Disney and obtained multimillion-dollar judgement for George Harrison against his former business manager. He also represented DreamWorks SKG and Steven Spielberg in defeating an application for an injunction against exhibition of Amistad.
Fields also represented Michael Jackson during contract talks with Sony Music in the early 1990s, as well as during the 1993 child molestation allegations made against Jackson in 1993.
In June 2008, Dr. Drew Pinsky, in an interview for Playboy, mentioned his belief that for Tom Cruise to be "drawn into a cultish kind of environment like Scientology," he was likely to have emotional problems. He said "To me, that’s a function of a very deep emptiness and suggests serious neglect in childhood — maybe some abuse, but mostly neglect."
Fields, representing Cruise, responded by calling Pinsky an "unqualified television performer" and likened him to Nazi Joseph Goebbels, saying "He seems to be spewing the absurdity that all Scientologists are mentally ill. The last time we heard garbage like this was from Joseph Goebbels." [not in citation given]
Pinsky, a licensed physician of Jewish ancestry, responded through his representative, "Dr. Drew meant no harm to Mr. Cruise and apologizes if his comments were hurtful." The statement continued, "Although Mr. Fields's intent is clearly to slander and discredit Dr. Drew, under no circumstances is Dr. Drew making a blanket diagnosis about Scientology nor Mr. Cruise whom he does not know. Dr. Drew was simply using Mr. Cruise as an example of someone who is recognizable to help the public understand. Again, Dr. Drew meant him no harm."
On March 13, 2012 Bert Fields, attorney for the estate of Mario Puzo filed a counterclaim against Paramount Pictures, who sued the estate to stop the author’s son, Anthony Puzo, from publishing a new sequel to his father’s classic Mafia saga, "The Godfather." Fields was quoted as saying, "Mario Puzo brought vast wealth to Paramount at a time when they desperately needed it. Now that he’s gone, Paramount’s trying to deprive his children of the rights he specifically reserved. I promised Mario I’d protect his kids from this kind of reprehensible conduct. Paramount wanted a war, and they’re going to get one."
In April 2014 Harvard Law School announced that Fields made a gift of $5 million to Harvard Law School to endow the Bertram Fields Professorship of Law.
Novels and historical writing
In September 2015 Fields published Shylock: His Own Story. (ISBN 978-0-9905602-4-1) In "The Merchant Of Venice" Shakespeare gives us only a brief and limited view of Shylock, an enigmatic character who varies with each actor’s interpretation. Now, we’re given Shylock’s full story, his dangerous background, his life, loves and challenges as an educated Jew in 16th century Venice, the motivation for demanding his seemingly bizarre ‘bond,’ as well as what occurred after his fateful confrontation with Portia and the Doge. The novel was published by Marmont Lane. It is dedicated to Bertram Fields' friend, actor Dustin Hoffman.
In 2015 Fields published Destiny: A Novel Of Napoleon & Josephine. (ISBN 978-0-9905602-0-3) This historical novel tells the story of the Emperor and his beautiful Creole lover. The novel was published by Marmont Lane.
In 2005 Fields published the non-fiction book Players: The Mysterious Identity of William Shakespeare, which deals with the authorship of the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare.
Having read English history for years as a hobby, and not satisfied with the books written about King Richard III, Fields spent four years researching and two years writing the non-fiction book Royal Blood: Richard III and the Mystery of the Princes (ISBN 0-06-039269-X), which was published in 1998.
Although he started with a "gut feeling" that Richard was innocent of murdering his nephews, the Princes in the Tower, Fields claims to have investigated the facts as he would for a client he was representing, and he structured the book like a lawyer's brief, identifying the evidence and then drawing the logical implications from the facts. In the same way as in a brief, he discussed the weaknesses in earlier authors' treatments of the same subject, being particularly critical of Alison Weir and her book The Princes in the Tower:
- "Alison Weir tells her readers that she, at last, has solved the mystery: Richard was guilty. What's more, he was a greedy, ruthless tyrant. However, if Richard was guilty, nothing in Weir's book demonstrates it. Essentially, her 'proof' that he murdered his nephews consists of two skeletons discovered in the Tower of London in 1674, some inferences wholly unsupported by the 'evidence' she offers and the opinions and assertions of 'contemporary' sources such as John Rous and Thomas More, which Weir is inclined to treat as proven fact."
The conclusion Fields reached is that the probability that the princes were, in fact, murdered is about 50% to 70%, and if they were, the probability that Richard did it is in the same range, so the logical probability that Richard is guilty is 25% to 49%, which is less than 50-50. Fields says DNA analyses of the bones dug up in the Tower of London in 1674 would change the odds on whether the princes were murdered but might not affect the odds on who did it, if anyone did, so this mystery may never be solved.
Fields has also written two novels, published under the pseudonym "D. Kincaid": The Sunset Bomber (1986, published by Corgi Books in London) which was also published under the name Final Verdict (1988), and The Lawyer's Tale. (1993).
Open letter to the German chancellor
In 1997, Fields conceived an open letter to then-German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, published as a newspaper advertisement in the International Herald Tribune, which drew parallels between the "organized oppression" of Scientologists in Germany and Nazi policies espoused by Germany in the 1930s. The letter was signed by 34 prominent figures in the U.S. entertainment industry, including the top executives of MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal and Sony Pictures Entertainment as well as actors Dustin Hoffman and Goldie Hawn, director Oliver Stone, writers Mario Puzo and Gore Vidal and talk-show host Larry King. The letter generated widespread controversy.
As a teacher
Fields has one son, James Elder Fields. James Elder Fields has a BA from Wesleyan and a law degree and Ph.D. in economics from Stanford University. He resides in Hawaii. Bert Fields has a granddaughter, Annabelle Fields, born 2005.
A serious music enthusiast, Bertram Fields performs and records as a singer and a vibraphonist with Les Deux Love Orchestra, led by Bobby Woods.
- The American Reporter – "The Pooh Papers" is an archive of 28 articles in the online daily newspaper written by Joe Shea about the celebrated Stephen Slesinger Inc. v. Walt Disney Studios case, in which Fields won a preliminary $200 million judgment but was forced to disqualify himself before the matter was heard at trial. The case is still being actively litigated 16 years after it was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, and aspects of it have already gone to the U.S. Supreme Court. Fields' role in some of the key hearings (there has yet to be a trial) is explored at length. According to the plaintiffs, Fields' fee (divided among many attorneys) reached $1 million a month before his recusal.
- BBC NEWS, Cruise scientology video leaked
- Tom Cruise Proves Sanity By Calling Shrink A Nazi
- Doctor Issues Apology To Tom Cruise Over Comments Archived November 23, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
- Masters, Kim (1997-02-10). Hollywood's Glitterati Circle the Wagons", Time
- Drozdiak, William (1997-01-14). U.S. Celebrities Defend Scientology in Germany, The Washington Post, p. A11
- Germany, America and Scientology, Washington Post, February 1, 1997
- Bonfante, Jordan; van Voorst, Bruce (1997-02-10). "Does Germany Have Something Against These Guys?", Time
- Bert Fields profile and resume
- LA Times article "The names cited in an indictment of private eye Anthony Pellicano read like a road map leading to Bertram Fields and his famous clients"
- New York Times article about Bert Fields and Anothony Pellicano "Detective's Employer Knew About His Sleuthing Device"
- Article in Hollywood Reporter profiling Bertram Fields[dead link]
- Marmont Lane, publisher of Bert Fields novels.