Norman R. Brokaw, a trailblazing talent agent who represented Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood and other top Hollywood stars, died Oct. 29 in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 89.
His son, David Brokaw, confirmed the death. The cause was not disclosed.
Mr. Brokaw ascended from the mailroom of the William Morris Agency to become its chief executive in 1989. Along the way, he helped steer actors to work in the fledgling television industry in the 1950s.
He later signed such public figures such as President Gerald R. Ford, former White House chief of staff Alexander M. Haig and former surgeon general C. Everett Koop to help chart careers after they left public service.
Mr. Brokaw’s television work involved teaming up underutilized film stars with directors who were skilled at delivering low-budget movies within a few days, his family said in a news release. The formula led to the creation of early television series such as “Racket Squad” and “Public Defender.”
He later represented the producers behind hit shows such as “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”
He also served as Bill Cosby’s agent for decades, helping have him cast on “I Spy,” which made Cosby the first African American star of a dramatic television series. Mr. Brokaw went on to craft deals that led to the creation of “The Cosby Show” and the comedian’s lucrative work as a pitchman.
Part of Mr. Brokaw’s work with Monroe involved driving the actress to auditions and appearances, his family said. After one appearance, Mr. Brokaw and Monroe stopped at the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles for dinner, where the actress would first meet her future husband, baseball star Joe DiMaggio of the New York Yankees.
Other figures represented by Mr. Brokaw included Barbara Stanwyck, Kim Novak, Natalie Wood, Susan Hayward, Danny Thomas, Andy Griffith, Barbara Walters, Donna Summer, Ivana Trump, Mark Spitz, Hank Aaron and Berry Gordy.
The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 2010 bestowed its Governor’s Award on Mr. Brokaw, the only agent to receive the honor.
Survivors include his wife, Marguerite Longley; and six children.
According to David Rensin’s 2007 book “The Mailroom: Hollywood History From the Bottom Up,” Mr. Brokaw turned down several opportunities to run movie studios and TV networks.
“I always said no,” he said in the book. “I wanted to stay at William Morris because I respect and love the company. I appreciate what they did for me. We’re the oldest company in the business, and the sky was always the limit.”
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