George Shapiro

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George Shapiro
Shapiro, left, in 2006
Born (1931-05-18) May 18, 1931 (age 91)
Alma materDeWitt Clinton High School (NYU)
OccupationTalent agent
Diane Barnett
(m. 1983)

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.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Shapiro was born and raised in the Bronx,[2][3] 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.[4] He grew up in a Jewish family. When Shapiro was 12, Carl Reiner married Shapiro's aunt, Estelle Lebost, and became his uncle.[5][1]


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.[1][3]

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.[1][3]

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.[6][7]


As a producer[edit]

Year Title Notes
1977 The Last Remake of Beau Geste
1979 Andy's Funhouse TV Special Documentary
1980 Andy Kaufman plays Carnegie Hall Comedy Special
1980 In God We Tru$t
1981 Lewis & Clark Episode: Welcome to Luckenbach
1985 Summer Rental
1987 Summer School
1987 Jerry Seinfeld: Stand-Up Confidential Standup Special
1987 Elayne Boosler: Broadway Baby Standup Special
1989 Bert Rigby, You're a Fool
1990 Sibling Rivalry
1995 A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman Television Special
1989-98 Seinfeld 173 episodes
1999 Man on the Moon
2003 The Bronx Boys Documentary
2004 The Seinfeld Story Documentary
2011 Colin Quinn: Long Story Short Comedy Special
2010-11 The Marriage Ref 22 episodes
2013 The Bronx Boys Still Playing at 80 Documentary
2016-17 The Dick Van Dyke Show: Now in Living Color! Television Special
2017 If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast Documentary, HBO
2017 Jerry Before Seinfeld Comedy Special, Netflix; final film role

As an actor[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1999 Man on the Moon Mr. Besserman
2002 Comedian Himself Documentary
2009 Curb Your Enthusiasm Himself (cameo) Episode: Seinfeld
2016 Dying Laughing Himself Documentary
2017 If You're Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast Himself Documentary, HBO
2017 Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond Himself Documentary, Netflix
2019 The Bronx, USA Himself Documentary

Awards and nominations[edit]

Primetime Emmy Awards

Year Category Project Result Ref.
1992 Outstanding Comedy Series Seinfeld Nominated [8]
1993 Outstanding Comedy Series Won
1994 Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
1995 Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Special A Comedy Salute to Andy Kaufman Nominated
1996 Outstanding Comedy Series Seinfeld Nominated
1997 Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
1998 Outstanding Comedy Series Nominated
2016 Outstanding Variety Talk Series Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Nominated
2019 Outstanding Informational Series Nominated


  1. ^ a b c d Whetsell, Tripp (May 25, 2018). "Veteran Talent Manager George Shapiro Looks Back on Early Career". Variety. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  2. ^ New York, New York, Birth Index, 1910-1965
  3. ^ a b c Cohen, Benyamin (July 24, 2003). "Last Comic Standing". Jewsweek. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  4. ^ Isenberg, Barbara (September 20, 2004). "Meet the Bronx Boys". Time. Retrieved September 24, 2018.
  5. ^ Marc Maron, "Carl Reiner" episode of WTF podcast, 20130207
  6. ^ Highlights of David Lynch Foundation's Night of Comedy Honoring George Shapiro
  7. ^ "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.[dead YouTube link]
  8. ^ "George Shapiro". IMDb.

External links[edit]