George Shapiro (born May 18, 1931) is an American talent manager and television producer. He is among the most successful managers in show business, best known for representing Jerry Seinfeld, Carl Reiner and Andy Kaufman, and served as a producer for the sitcom Seinfeld.
Early life and education
Shapiro was born and raised in the Bronx, where he met future business partner Howard West (1931–2015) in the third grade. He attended P.S. 80, DeWitt Clinton High School and New York University. He grew up in a Jewish family. When Shapiro was 12, Carl Reiner married Shapiro's aunt and became his uncle.
After graduating from NYU, Shapiro went to work in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency in New York. He advanced within the company and soon became an agent. One of his first assignments was to accompany Elvis Presley during his appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. Eventually, he began packaging programs including the hits The Steve Allen Show, That Girl starring Marlo Thomas, and Gomer Pyle starring Jim Nabors. He also packaged a number of specials for Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Channing.
Shapiro left William Morris to become a personal manager and producer along with his partner and friend, Howard West. They formed Shapiro/West Productions and executive produced the Emmy, Peabody, and Golden Globe award-winning series, Seinfeld. Shapiro was Andy Kaufman's personal manager for many years, executive producing the performer's special for Showtime, Andy Kaufman at Carnegie Hall, and one for ABC, The Andy Kaufman Show. He was executive producer with West on the 1999 Universal biopic Man on the Moon starring Jim Carrey in the role of Andy Kaufman and Danny DeVito as Shapiro, and had a cameo in the movie as Mr. Besserman. He played a prominent role in the documentary Comedian.
On June 30, 2012, people from the world of comedy gathered at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills to honor Shapiro. The David Lynch Foundation presented him with the first Lifetime of Bliss Award. He said he had been practicing Transcendental Meditation for 28 years.
- Whetsell, Tripp (May 25, 2018). "Veteran Talent Manager George Shapiro Looks Back on Early Career". Variety. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- New York, New York, Birth Index, 1910-1965
- Cohen, Benyamin (July 24, 2003). "Last Comic Standing". Jewsweek. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- Isenberg, Barbara (September 20, 2004). "Meet the Bronx Boys". Time. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
- Marc Maron, "Carl Reiner" episode of WTF podcast, 20130207
- Highlights of David Lynch Foundation's Night of Comedy Honoring George Shapiro
- "Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld on Transcendental Meditation". YouTube. 22 July 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2015.
TM, which I've been doing for, I think, it's 28 years ... Andy Kaufman introduced me to it and it's become a great experience for me.
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