Lou Weiss

Agent


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Lou Weiss talks about his early years as an office boy for William Morris. He describes becoming an agent and spending several years representing various nightclub acts and Catskills comedians. He recounts the creation of the television department at William Morris, and talks of helping to create the notion of agencies "packaging" television shows for networks. Weiss recalls packaging several shows, including The Danny Thomas Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Four Star Playhouse and Richard Diamond, Private Detective. He discusses the business aspects of television, including syndication and distribution. He speaks of the many people he has worked with and represented in his career, including Bill Cosby, Danny Thomas, Dick Powell, David Wolper, Barbara Walters, Howard Cosell, and his maternal uncle George Burns. Mark Wallace conducted the interview on April 29, 1998 with Sunny Parich conducting a brief follow-up on April 30, 1998, both in New York City, New York.

"I wouldn't trade my years and my memories for a new start. It's been too good. I've been the luckiest guy in the world."

Highlights
Lou Weiss on his first job at William Morris as an office boy
03:04
Lou Weiss on the advent of packaging television 
04:13
Lou Weiss on packaging game shows and The Danny Thomas Show
03:41
Lou Weiss on William Morris in the '50s and making a deal
05:34
Lou Weiss on how he'd like to be remembered 
02:31
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On his early life and influences; on his mother and his early life; on his family, including his aunt and uncle - Gracie Allen and George Burns
On radio he listened to growing up; on growing up during the Great Depression; on his first job at William Morris as an office boy
On his first boss at William Morris; on his marriage after World War II; on returning to William Morris after World War II and learning to be an agent

Chapter 2

On finding talent in small nightclubs; on his memories of the nightclubs; on a typical day when he was representing nightclub acts
On building his nightclub acts; on William Morris in the '50s and making a deal; on Frank Sinatra
On representing Catskills comedians; on getting into television 

Chapter 3

On when he first saw television; on the creation of the television department at William Morris; on signing George Abbott
On television in the '50s; on the advent of packaging television; on packaging Texaco Star Theater starring Milton Berle
On his role in packaging television shows; on the Hollywood Blacklist; on packaging game shows and The Danny Thomas Show

Chapter 4

On packaging The Danny Thomas Show and working with Sheldon Leonard; on packaging The Dick Van Dyke Show; on Dick Powell and Four Star Playhouse
On the actors who appeared on Four Star Theater and Richard Diamond , Private Detective; on the then-current economics of developing a show; on working with Pat Weaver
On syndication; on television distribution; on representing Bill Cosby

Chapter 5

On representing Bill Cosby; on representing George Schlatter; on representing David Wolper
On representing Merv Griffin; on representing Barbara Walters; on representing Howard Cosell and Jack Paar; on Michael Ovitz 
On summing up his feelings about his career; on his uncle, George Burns; on how he'd like to be remembered; on various people with whom he's worked in his career

Chapter 6

On various people with whom he has worked in his career; on the then-current state of William Morris
Shows

Barney Miller

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Lou Weiss on packaging Barney Miller
01:43

Danny Thomas Show, The aka Make Room for Daddy

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Lou Weiss on packaging game shows and The Danny Thomas Show
03:41
Lou Weiss on packaging The Danny Thomas Show  and working with Sheldon Leonard
02:29

Dick Van Dyke Show, The

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Lou Weiss on packaging The Dick Van Dyke Show
03:22

Four Star Playhouse

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Lou Weiss on Dick Powell and Four Star Playhouse
06:14
Lou Weiss on the actors who appeared on Four Star Playhouse  and Richard Diamond, Private Detective
01:12

Richard Diamond, Private Detective

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Lou Weiss on the actors who appeared on Four Star Playhouse  and Richard Diamond, Private Detective
01:12

Texaco Star Theater

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Lou Weiss on packaging Texaco Star Theater starring Milton Berle
02:02
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

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Lou Weiss on his first boss at The William Morris Agency, Abe Lastfogel
05:39

Historic Events and Social Change

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Lou Weiss on moving up through the ranks at William Morris and his experience with World War II
02:30

Hollywood Blacklist

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Lou Weiss on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:25

Industry Crossroads

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Lou Weiss on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:25

Television Industry

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Lou Weiss on the Hollywood Blacklist
03:25
Lou Weiss on the then-current economics of developing a show
00:55
Lou Weiss on syndication
02:15
Lou Weiss on television distribution
04:40

World War II

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Lou Weiss on moving up through the ranks at William Morris and his experience with World War II
02:30
Professions

Agent

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Lou Weiss on William Morris in the '50s and making a deal
05:34
Lou Weiss on the advent of packaging television 
04:13
Lou Weiss on his role in packaging television shows
01:25

Representatives

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Lou Weiss on William Morris in the '50s and making a deal
05:34
Lou Weiss on the advent of packaging television 
04:13
Lou Weiss on his role in packaging television shows
01:25
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Lou Weiss on Dick Powell and Four Star Playhouse
07:26

Comedy Series

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Lou Weiss on packaging Texaco Star Theater  starring Milton Berle
02:02
Lou Weiss on packaging game shows and The Danny Thomas Show
03:41
Lou Weiss on packaging The Danny Thomas Show  and working with Sheldon Leonard
02:29
Lou Weiss on packaging The Dick Van Dyke Show
03:22
Lou Weiss on packaging Barney Miller
01:43

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Lou Weiss on Richard Diamond, Private Detective 
01:12
People

George Abbott

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Lou Weiss on signing George Abbott
05:02

Gracie Allen

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Lou Weiss on his famliy including his aunt and uncle, Gracie Allen and George Burns
05:16

Milton Berle

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Lou Weiss on packaging Texaco Star Theater  starring Milton Berle
02:02

George Burns

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Lou Weiss on his famliy including his aunt and uncle, Gracie Allen and George Burns
05:16
Lou Weiss on his uncle, George Burns
00:39

Bill Cosby

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Lou Weiss on representing Bill Cosby
02:28
Lou Weiss on representing Bill Cosby
02:28

Howard Cosell

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Lou Weiss on representing Howard Cosell and Jack Paar
02:34

Dick Van Dyke

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Lou Weiss on packaging The Dick Van Dyke Show
03:22

Michael Fuchs

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Lou Weiss on Michael Fuchs
01:27

Dave Garroway

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Lou Weiss on representing Dave Garroway
00:33

Merv Griffin

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Lou Weiss on representing Merv Griffin
01:39

Abe Lastfogel

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Lou Weiss on his first boss at The William Morris Agency, Abe Lastfogel
05:39

Sheldon Leonard

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Lou Weiss on packaging The Danny Thomas Show  and working with Sheldon Leonard
02:29

Jerry Lewis

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Lou Weiss on representing Jerry Lewis
01:01

Michael Ovitz

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Lou Weiss on Michael Ovitz 
02:33

Jack Paar

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Lou Weiss on representing Howard Cosell and Jack Paar
02:34
Lou Weiss on representing Jack Paar
00:38

Dick Powell

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Lou Weiss on Dick Powell and Four Star Playhouse
06:14

George Schlatter

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Lou Weiss on representing George Schlatter
02:42

Frank Sinatra

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Lou Weiss on Frank Sinatra
02:54

Aaron Spelling

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Lou Weiss on working with Aaron Spelling
02:26

Danny Thomas

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Lou Weiss on packaging game shows and The Danny Thomas Show
03:41
Lou Weiss on packaging The Danny Thomas Show  and working with Sheldon Leonard
02:29

Kay Thompson

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Lou Weiss on representing Kay Thompson
01:54

Grant Tinker

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Lou Weiss on Grant Tinker
01:10

Barbara Walters

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Lou Weiss on representing Barbara Walters
04:50

David L. Wolper

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Lou Weiss on representing David Wolper
02:41

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