Social Icons

Social Connect

Norman Brokaw

  • Birthplace: New York City, New York
  • Birthday: April 21
Date of passing: 
October 29, 2016

Norman Brokaw was an agent and producer who served many years as chairman of the William Morris Agency, now WME. During a long and distinguished career, Brokaw represented some of Hollywood’s most celebrated talent.

Norman Brokaw was an agent and producer who served many years as chairman of the William Morris Agency, now WME. During a long and distinguished career, Brokaw represented some of Hollywood’s most celebrated talent.

Brokaw broke into the entertainment business in 1943, when he was just 15, with his first job in the mailroom of William Morris. Within a few years he would became the first of many trainees from that famed mailroom to rise through the ranks of the agency, among them former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, DreamWorks co-founders Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen and Universal president Ron Meyer. As Brokaw once said, “If you want to be in this business, there’s no greater place to learn than in a mailroom.”

At the start of his career, radio was in its heyday. As a young agent, he helped to initiate the agency’s first attempts at packaging talent, bringing together writers, producers, stars and directors for the development of radio programming.

A longtime figure in the motion picture business, Brokaw's star roster began with legendary greats like Loretta Young, Barbara Stanwyck, Susan Hayward and Ann Sothern. Soon, newcomers were added to the list, including Natalie Wood, Kim Novak, Marilyn Monroe and Clint Eastwood.

Eventually he led the effort to expand the agency’s reach into the new medium of television, encouraging major film stars like Young and others to work in TV series. He came to be regarded as an architect of the agency’s West Coast television department.

His other clients over the years included Bill Cosby, whom he represented for nearly 50 years, as well as Danny Thomas, Andy Griffith, Barbara Walters, Donna Summer, Mary Hart, Priscilla Presley and Helen Reddy.

In the 1970s, Brokaw spearheaded William Morris's entry into the previously unexplored fields of sports, journalism and politics, and he represented politicians (President Gerald Ford and Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi) and athletes (Mark Spitz, Natalie Gulbis), along with a number of clients from various other fields, including Ivana Trump, C. Everett Koop and Berry Gordy.

In addition to his work in the entertainment industry, Brokaw devoted himself to philanthropic efforts. He was a Life Trustee of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, served on the board of St. Jude’s Hospital and was president of the Betty Ford Cancer Center. He also was a longstanding member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In 2010, the Television Academy honored Brokaw with its Governors Award for his decades of contributions to the industry. 

Brokaw died on October 29, 2016, in Beverly Hills. He was 89.

Show more

Photos

photos