Lou Weiss

Agent


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In his three-hour Archive interview, Lou Weiss (1918-2019) 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, NY.

"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."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Lou Weiss on his first job at William Morris as an office boy
Lou Weiss on the advent of packaging television 
Lou Weiss on packaging game shows and The Danny Thomas Show
Lou Weiss on William Morris in the '50s and making a deal
Lou Weiss on how he'd like to be remembered 
Lou Weiss on packaging The Dick Van Dyke Show
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

View Show Page
Lou Weiss on packaging Barney Miller

Danny Thomas Show, The aka Make Room for Daddy

View Show Page
Lou Weiss on packaging game shows and The Danny Thomas Show
Lou Weiss on packaging The Danny Thomas Show  and working with Sheldon Leonard

Dick Van Dyke Show, The

View Show Page
Lou Weiss on packaging The Dick Van Dyke Show

Four Star Playhouse

View Show Page
Lou Weiss on Dick Powell and Four Star Playhouse
Lou Weiss on the actors who appeared on Four Star Playhouse  and Richard Diamond, Private Detective

Richard Diamond, Private Detective

View Show Page
Lou Weiss on the actors who appeared on Four Star Playhouse  and Richard Diamond, Private Detective

Texaco Star Theater

View Show Page
Lou Weiss on packaging Texaco Star Theater starring Milton Berle
Topics

Creative Influences and Inspiration

View Topic
Lou Weiss on his first boss at The William Morris Agency, Abe Lastfogel

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Lou Weiss on moving up through the ranks at William Morris and his experience with World War II

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Lou Weiss on the Hollywood Blacklist

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Lou Weiss on the Hollywood Blacklist

Television Industry

View Topic
Lou Weiss on the Hollywood Blacklist
Lou Weiss on the then-current economics of developing a show
Lou Weiss on syndication
Lou Weiss on television distribution

World War II

View Topic
Lou Weiss on moving up through the ranks at William Morris and his experience with World War II
Professions

Agent

View Profession
Lou Weiss on William Morris in the '50s and making a deal
Lou Weiss on the advent of packaging television 
Lou Weiss on his role in packaging television shows

Representatives

View Profession
Lou Weiss on William Morris in the '50s and making a deal
Lou Weiss on the advent of packaging television 
Lou Weiss on his role in packaging television shows
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

View Genre
Lou Weiss on Dick Powell and Four Star Playhouse

Comedy Series

View Genre
Lou Weiss on packaging Texaco Star Theater  starring Milton Berle
Lou Weiss on packaging game shows and The Danny Thomas Show
Lou Weiss on packaging The Danny Thomas Show  and working with Sheldon Leonard
Lou Weiss on packaging The Dick Van Dyke Show
Lou Weiss on packaging Barney Miller

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

View Genre
Lou Weiss on Richard Diamond, Private Detective 
People

George Abbott

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on signing George Abbott

Gracie Allen

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on his famliy including his aunt and uncle, Gracie Allen and George Burns

Milton Berle

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on packaging Texaco Star Theater  starring Milton Berle

George Burns

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on his famliy including his aunt and uncle, Gracie Allen and George Burns
Lou Weiss on his uncle, George Burns

Bill Cosby

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on representing Bill Cosby
Lou Weiss on representing Bill Cosby

Howard Cosell

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on representing Howard Cosell and Jack Paar

Dick Van Dyke

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on packaging The Dick Van Dyke Show

Michael Fuchs

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on Michael Fuchs

Dave Garroway

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on representing Dave Garroway

Merv Griffin

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on representing Merv Griffin

Abe Lastfogel

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on his first boss at The William Morris Agency, Abe Lastfogel

Sheldon Leonard

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on packaging The Danny Thomas Show  and working with Sheldon Leonard

Jerry Lewis

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on representing Jerry Lewis

Michael Ovitz

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on Michael Ovitz 

Jack Paar

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on representing Howard Cosell and Jack Paar
Lou Weiss on representing Jack Paar

Dick Powell

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on Dick Powell and Four Star Playhouse

George Schlatter

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on representing George Schlatter

Frank Sinatra

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on Frank Sinatra

Aaron Spelling

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on working with Aaron Spelling

Danny Thomas

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on packaging game shows and The Danny Thomas Show
Lou Weiss on packaging The Danny Thomas Show  and working with Sheldon Leonard

Kay Thompson

View Person Page
Lou Weiss on representing Kay Thompson

Grant Tinker

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on Grant Tinker

Barbara Walters

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on representing Barbara Walters

David L. Wolper

View Interview Page
Lou Weiss on representing David Wolper

All Interviews

Q
S