Magazine article Variety

What Lew Would Do?

Magazine article Variety

What Lew Would Do?

Article excerpt

Harry Abrams is struggling with talking about his role in his agency's founding because he's spent the past 60 years trying to make sure he was never talking about his role in anything.

Abrams' reticence was embedded in him back in the late '50s when he joined the famed MCA talent agency under the tutelage of that firm's legendary founders Lew Wasserman and Dr. Jules Stein.

"It took me a year to get the position as the No. 6 man in the six-man MCA mailroom for $40 a week," recalls Abrams. "The values and beliefs of Wasserman and Stein were passed down to everyone at every level. The first thing you learned was that the client is always the one in the spotlight. When a major deal was made, you didn't want to be quoted. The rule was, 'Keep the client in the forefront. No ego.'"

Sitting at his desk in the chic Abrams Agency digs in the Pacific Design Center, Abrams points to his own fashionable red silk tie to make the point.

"You see this tie? That wouldn't cut it at MCA. Stein and Wasserman's ideals were always espoused in dress. You wore a conservative suit, white shirt, never blue, and a no flashy tie."

MCA's strict doctrine of humble service to clients had a silver lining for the determined young UCLA business school grad. …

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