Larry Auerbach

Agent


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Larry Auerbach details his 47-year association with the William Morris Agency, where he started part-time in the mailroom. He talks about his move out of the mailroom and his work booking talent in small nightclubs and theaters. He describes booking musical talent including Sam Cooke, Sammy Davis Jr., and Elvis Presley for early television shows, and shares the circumstances by which he got Presley his first television exposure on the series Stage Show. Auerbach discusses representing Alan Freed and how the "payola" scandals ruined Freed's career, and recalls the packaging of the unusual Mitch Miller series Sing Along With Mitch that featured on-screen lyrics for sing-alongs and was a big commercial hit. He recounts representing Alan Alda, Beatrice Arthur, Agnes Nixon, and Aaron Spelling, and details the creation and packaging of the 1980's sitcom hit The Cosby Show. Auerbach also talks about his "second career" teaching at USC. Dan Pasternack conducted the interview on May 21, 2003 in Beverly Hills, CA.

"Becoming an agent is a major commitment. A lot of hours for very little pay. If you want to learn the business, work at a large agency. They have the movie business, the television business, and everything else. Have a very strong passion because it's the only business where 99% of the people can say no. Very few can say yes."

Highlights
Larry Auerbach on the concept of an agency "packaging" a show
02:29
Larry Auerbach on William Morris signing Elvis Presley
06:53
Larry Auerbach on representing Sammy Davis, Jr
03:58
Larry Auerbach on the emergence of the Creative Artists Agency in the 1970s
01:03
Larry Auerbach on packaging That Girl  and working with Marlo Thomas
03:19
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on how he came to work for the William Morris Agency; on working in the William Morris Agency mailroom
On the first time he saw television; on becoming an agent; on booking talent for night clubs and what William Morris was like in the 1940s

Chapter 2

On his boss at the William Morris Agency; on how television changed the agency business; on working in the music department at William Morris
On music acts he represented at the William Morris Agency; on getting his music acts to appear on television and the racial discrimination those acts experienced; on the payola scandal of the 1950s

Chapter 3

On William Morris signing Elvis Presley; on representing Sammy Davis, Jr.; on the Hollywood Blacklist
On the Quiz Show Scandals; on Sing Along with Mitch and The Patty Duke Show; on packaging All My Children and One Life to Live for ABC

Chapter 4

On moving to Los Angeles; on packaging That Girl; on working with Aaron Spelling
On working in the William Morris Agency motion picture department and the formation of CAA; on packaging Chico and the Man and working with producer James Komack

Chapter 5

On packaging Welcome Back Kotter; on representing Beatrice Arthur and Alan Alda; on packaging The Cosby Show
On his retirement from the William Morris Agency; on teaching at USC; on advice to aspiring agents
Shows

All My Children

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging All My Children and One Life to Live
02:18

Chico and the Man

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging Chico and the Man
03:46

Cosby Show, The

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging The Cosby Show
05:32
Larry Auerbach on The Cosby Show's effect on the television industry
01:13
Larry Auerbach on various players who made The Cosby Show happen
03:20

Ed Sullivan Show, The aka Toast of the Town

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on how the William Morris Agency dealt with the emergence of Rock and Roll music and booking those acts on television
03:00

Golden Girls, The

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on representing Beatrice Arthur
02:37

M*A*S*H

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on representing Alan Alda
02:40
Larry Auerbach on the final episode of M*A*S*H: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"
01:49

M*A*S*H: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on the final episode of M*A*S*H: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"
01:49

Maude

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on representing Beatrice Arthur
02:37

Mod Squad, The

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on his business relationship with Aaron Spelling
03:49

One Life to Live

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging All My Children and One Life to Live
02:18

Patty Duke Show, The

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging The Patty Duke Show
03:49

Sing Along with Mitch

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging Sing Along with Mitch
06:48

That Girl

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging That Girl and working with Marlo Thomas
03:19

Welcome Back, Kotter

View Show Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging Welcome Back Kotter
00:43
Topics

Censorship / Standards & Practices

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on William Morris signing Elvis Presley
06:53

Civil Rights Movement

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on dealing with discrimination against Harry Belafonte
02:00

Diversity in Television

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on dealing with discrimination against Harry Belafonte
02:00
Larry Auerbach on representing Sammy Davis, Jr.
03:58

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:34

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on Alan Freed and the payola scandal
05:25
Larry Auerbach on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:34
Larry Auerbach on the Quiz Show Scandals
02:04

Memorable Moments on Television

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on the final episode of M*A*S*H: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"
01:49

Minorities

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on representing Sammy Davis, Jr.
03:58

Pop Culture

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on how the William Morris Agency dealt with the emergence of Rock and Roll music and booking those acts on television
03:00
Larry Auerbach on Alan Freed and the payola scandal
05:25
Larry Auerbach on William Morris signing Elvis Presley
06:53

Quiz Show Scandals

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on the Quiz Show Scandals
02:04

Rock 'n' Roll on TV (1950s & '60s)

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on how the William Morris Agency dealt with the emergence of Rock and Roll music and booking those acts on television
03:00
Larry Auerbach on William Morris signing Elvis Presley
06:53

Television Industry

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on William Morris signing Elvis Presley
06:53
Larry Auerbach on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:34
Larry Auerbach on the Quiz Show Scandals
02:04

We Cried

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on the final episode of M*A*S*H: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"
01:49

We Laughed

View Topic
Larry Auerbach on the final episode of M*A*S*H: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"
01:49
Professions

Agent

View Profession
Larry Auerbach on the process of booking performers in his early years at the William Morris Agency
03:47
Larry Auerbach on the concept of an agency "packaging" a show
02:29
Larry Auerbach on the William Morris Agency television department in the 1970s
05:07
Larry Auerbach on advice to aspiring agents
02:37

Representatives

View Profession
Larry Auerbach on the process of booking performers in his early years at the William Morris Agency
03:47
Larry Auerbach on the concept of an agency "packaging" a show
02:29
Larry Auerbach on the William Morris Agency television department in the 1970s
05:07
Larry Auerbach on advice to aspiring agents
02:37
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Larry Auerbach on packaging The Cosby Show
10:16
People

Alan Alda

View Interview Page
Larry Auerbach on representing Alan Alda
02:40
Larry Auerbach on the final episode of M*A*S*H: "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen"
01:49

Beatrice Arthur

View Interview Page
Larry Auerbach on representing Beatrice Arthur
02:37

Harry Belafonte

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on dealing with discrimination against Harry Belafonte
02:00

Marcy Carsey

View Interview Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging The Cosby Show, produced by Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner
05:32

Sam Cooke

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on how the William Morris Agency dealt with the emergence of Rock and Roll music and booking those acts on television
03:00

Bill Cosby

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging The Cosby Show
05:32

Sammy Davis, Jr.

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on representing Sammy Davis, Jr.
03:58

Patty Duke

View Interview Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging The Patty Duke Show
03:49

Alan Freed

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on Alan Freed and the payola scandal
05:25

Gabe Kaplan

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging Welcome Back Kotter
00:43

James Komack

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging Chico and the Man
03:46
Larry Auerbach on his relationship with producer James Komack
02:15
Larry Auerbach on packaging Welcome Back Kotter
00:43

Mitch Miller

View Interview Page
Larry Auerbach on Sing Along with Mitch
06:48

Agnes Nixon

View Interview Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging All My Children and One Life to Live
02:18

Elvis Presley

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on William Morris signing Elvis Presley
06:53

Freddie Prinze

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging Chico and the Man
03:46

Aaron Spelling

View Interview Page
Larry Auerbach on his business relationship with Aaron Spelling
03:49

Ed Sullivan

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on how the William Morris Agency dealt with the emergence of Rock and Roll music and booking those acts on television
03:00

Brandon Tartikoff

View Person Page
Larry Auerbach on various players who made The Cosby Show happen
03:20

Marlo Thomas

View Interview Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging That Girl and working with Marlo Thomas
03:19

Tom Werner

View Interview Page
Larry Auerbach on packaging The Cosby Show, produced by Marcy Carsey and Tom Werner
05:32

All Interviews

Q
S