Hollywood producer Bernie Brillstein dies at 77

LOS ANGELES Fri Aug 8, 2008 2:50pm EDT

Producer Bernie Brillstein arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of the film 'Thank You for Smoking' in this March 16, 2006 file photo. Brillstein, whose credits include the movie ''The Blues Brothers'' and the television show ''NewsRadio,'' has died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his company said on August 8, 2008. He was 77. REUTERS/Fred Prouser/Files

Producer Bernie Brillstein arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of the film 'Thank You for Smoking' in this March 16, 2006 file photo. Brillstein, whose credits include the movie ''The Blues Brothers'' and the television show ''NewsRadio,'' has died of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, his company said on August 8, 2008. He was 77.

Credit: Reuters/Fred Prouser/Files

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood producer and talent manager Bernie Brillstein, whose movie credits include "The Blues Brothers" and "Happy Gilmore," has died of lung disease at age 77, his company said on Friday.

Brillstein died on Thursday night in Los Angeles from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Brillstein Entertainment Partners said in a statement.

He was a talent manager early in his career and helped guide the rise to stardom of Muppet creator Jim Henson, comic actors John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd and "Saturday Night Live" creator Lorne Michaels. He served as executive producer on many films including "The Blues Brothers," starring Belushi and Aykroyd, as well as TV comedies like the 1990s hit "NewsRadio."

"With his boundless passion, energy and wisdom, Bernie inspired the culture and success that we're blessed with today," Jon Liebman, chief executive officer of Brillstein Entertainment Partners, said in a statement.

The management and production company Brillstein founded in 1969 grew into a powerhouse of Hollywood comedy.

In 1991, he partnered with producer Brad Grey to form Brillstein-Grey Entertainment, which later changed its name to Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Grey left in 2005 to run the Paramount Pictures movie studio.

A New York native, Brillstein was introduced to show business by his uncle, Jack Pearl, a star in the Ziegfield Follies stage show. He began his career in the mail room at the William Morris Agency, a talent company.

Brillstein is survived by his wife and five children.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis)

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