George ShapiroThe highly respected talent manager, producer and co-founder of Shapiro/West & Associates died Thursday night of natural causes at his home in Beverly Hills. He is 91 years old.
Shapiro joins his partner and childhood friend Howard West as the comedy superstar’s personal manager Jerry SeinfeldAndy Kaufman and Carl Reiner,and many more.He and West will continue to executive produce Seinfeldone of the top comedy series of all time.
Born in New York, Shapiro spent his summers as a teenager at the Tamiment Resort in Poconos, where he met Dick Shawn, Pat Carroll and Carol Burnett, singer Barbara Performers such as Cook and choreographer Heber Ross. It was also at that time that he met a talent agent.
“These guys show up…I don’t even know what an agent is, but they come to the show, talk to girls, talk to comedians,” Shapiro said in a past TV Academy Foundation interview . “I said, ‘This is your job? Watch a show, have a good dinner, come to a resort with a lake? I have to look into it.”
After graduating from NYU and serving in the military, Shapiro was interviewed for a job in the William Morris mailroom in New York through his uncle Carl Reiner. He became a junior agent, made $38 a week, worked in the agency’s packaging department, but remained close to comedy, seeing Lenny Bruce, Mike Nichols and Elaine May, Phyllis Diller perform in New York. He also recruited his PS 80 friend West to join his agency.
After a few years, Shapiro began to realize that big comedy shows and productions were moving to Hollywood. So he started rumors at William Morris that he was going to be sent to the Los Angeles office. The rumor became a self-fulfilling prophecy, and Shapiro took West along with him across his country.
In Los Angeles, he became a packager for TV shows, including The Steve Allen show, that girl, and Gomer Pyle U.S. MarinesHe also produced specials for Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore and Carol Channing, helping many actors to rise to superstardom.
In 1973, Shapiro decided to become a personal manager in order to develop deeper relationships and partnerships with clients, so he left William Morris and opened a management firm, which later brought West to him . Shapiro/West Associates was born.
Shapiro managed Andy Kaufman for many years, executive producing comedian specials such as Andy Kaufman at Carnegie Hall For Showtime and Andy Kaufman Special for ABC.He also supports several other TV comedy specials, including: Showtime’s broadway baby With Elaine Bussler; HBO Talk Show Confidential, starring Seinfeld; and animation milestones with Reiner and Mel Brook 2000 year old man.
Shapiro also executive produces man on the moon With Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman West. Danny DeVito plays George Shapiro in Milos Forman’s film, while Shapiro plays Mr. Besselman, who is a club owner who fired Kaufman early in his career, and West plays a stubborn internet executive.
“George is one of the cutest people on the planet,” DeVito said in a statement. “We saw that smiling face every Friday night during ‘Taxi.’ He never missed a show. Brother Peace.”
Other feature films produced by Shapiro include Comedian, Summer Rentals and summer classes. He has also produced documentaries such as bronx boy and if you’re not in the obituary, eat breakfast Hosted by Reiner.He is also a producer of HBO documentaries The Bronx, USA Celebrate his hometown.
In recent years, Shapiro executives have produced Seinfeld’s comedian drinking coffee in the car, Netflix Comedy Talk Show Special with Seinfeld jerry before seinfeld and 23 hours to kill. The last movie he made is 2021 super bob einstein movie For HBO, about the life of the late actor and comedian Bob Einstein.
Shapiro is also a founding member of the National Comedy Center Advisory Board. “We are deeply saddened by the passing of our friend George Shapiro,” Executive Director Journey Gunderson said in a statement. “In addition to his extraordinary accomplishments as a manager and producer guiding the careers of major comedy talents, George was a founding advisory board member of the National Comedy Center. He believed deeply in our mission to celebrate and preserve the legacy of comedy, and we are delighted to welcome him to us The grand opening event. We will miss him dearly.”
Shapiro left behind his lifelong friend and child’s mother Melody Shapiro. Brothers Don Shapiro; son Danny Shapiro and daughter-in-law Hester Parker; daughter Carrie Shapiro Fuentes and son-in-law Mark Fuentes; daughter Stefanie Shapiro and 5 grandchildren Adam Shapiro, Nathan Fuentes, Audrey Fuentes, Skylar Shapiro and Alana Shapiro.