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Bernie Brillstein Dies of Heart Disease

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Aug 08, 2008 | 1:39pm EDT

Legendary Hollywood manager/producer Bernie Brillstein has died. He was 77.

The star passed away in a Los Angeles hospital on Thursday after suffering from heart disease. Born in 1931 in New York, Brillstein got an early start in the showbiz industry when he joined the William Morris Agency as a postboy.

He worked his way up in the talent agency and soon became a talent scout, before being named manager-producer of TV programming in the 1960s. He formed The Brillstein Company in 1969 and continued to work as a talent manager while developing various TV shows. 

Brillstein went on to found a production and management firm with his business partner Brad Grey, called Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, in 1991. Under his new venture, he helped to steer the careers of The Muppets creator Jim Henson and Saturday Night Live star John Belushi.

His many movie credits as executive producer include 1984's Ghostbusters, and Happy Gilmore and The Cable Guy in 1996. He was also heavily responsible for bringing hit mob drama The Sopranos to TV, as well as long-running comedy show Saturday Night Live.

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