Magazine article Variety

With Weintraub, the Focus Was on Backing Top Talent

Magazine article Variety

With Weintraub, the Focus Was on Backing Top Talent

Article excerpt

I was just getting ready to email him about our lunch. Literally. My plan was to get off the phone and then send him a note. Circling back after he had reached out multiple times before I went to Paris. And while I was on hold, I found out he had died.

I've never had this happen. People speak of missing out on saying goodbye, of their destiny being changed in seconds, but this was eerie.

I didn't know what Jerry Weintraub wanted, and now, I never will. To be honest, I'm always anxious when bigwigs track me down. I feel inadequate, and I frequently avoid the meeting; I don't quite know what to say.

Although I knew Jerry. We weren't best friends, but I knew him. I went to lunch with him at II Piccolino, where he ate - what else - the Jerry Weintraub Special. He was warm and open from the getgo, treated me like an equal, brought me into the family, and I marveled at his style.

I'm not talking East Coast style, which is sartorial and includes a pecking order, but rather West Coast style, where it's all about being part of the family, where the majordomos take care of each other. Weintraub established the paradigm. At least in the music business.

You see, it was about favors. There's nothing Weintraub wouldn't do for you. He was wired into every facet of life. If you needed a doctor, if you needed a connection, he knew who to go to, and opened the door. It's those who give who are larger than life, who have power. That's Irving Azoff's specialty. And David Geffen's too. You've got to be magnanimous. But you've got to fight for what you want, too.

Weintraub reached out to me when I wrote about his book, the lamentably, but perhaps appropriately, titled "When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories From a Persuasive Man." He invited me to the premiere of the HBO movie about his life, "His Way." He never talked down to me, and I was looking forward to our lunch to cement the bond further. …

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