The studio head, manager, producer and talent agent died of chronic pulmonary heart disease at a Los Angeles hospital on Thursday, Aug. 7 around 9 p.m., confirms information from Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Bernard J. Brillstein was born April 26, 1931 in Manhattan to Moe and Tillie Brillstein. After graduating from New York University and serving time in the military, Brillstein started his showbiz career path as many do, in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency in New York.
Diligence and hard work paid off. He eventually became a talent agent and then a TV manager-producer for the company in the 1960s. In Los Angeles he began to manage "SNL" stars such as Gilda Radner and John Belushi as well as Muppets creator Jim Henson and "Alf" voice and operator Paul Fusco. On the production side, he helped bring "Hee Haw," "The Muppet Show" and "SNL" to life.
In the 1980s, he met Brad Grey, with whom he later formed the production company Brillstein-Grey Entertainment. As executive producer, Brillstein's film credits include "The Blues Brothers," the two "Ghostbusters" films, "Happy Gilmore" and "The Cable Guy," among others. His TV resume also includes "The Larry Sanders Show," "It's Garry Shandling's Show," "Mr. Show With Bob and David," "Just Shoot Me" and "News Radio."
Brillstein sold his shares of the company to Grey in 1996, who then sold his interest in 2005 in order to become chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures. The company was renamed Brillstein Entertainment Partners.
Brillstein also co-wrote the 1999 memoir "Where Did I Go Right?: You're No One in Hollywood Unless Someone Wants You Dead" and in 2001 received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He is survived by his wife Carrie, daughter Leigh and Kate Brillstein, and three sons Michael Brillstein, David and Nick Koskoff.