George Shapiro, a renowned American talent manager, and television producer best known for representing comedy stars like Jerry Seinfeld, Carl Reiner, and Andy Kaufman passed away on 26th May. He was 91. He took his last breath at his home in Beverly Hills.
Shapiro’s family confirmed his death in a statement saying, “Shapiro’s love of laughter and reverence for those who inspire it helped him build a career in comedy as an unabashed supporter of comic performers and comedy writers.
Shapiro’s love of laughter and reverence for those who inspire it helped him build a career in comedy as an unabashed supporter of comic performers and comedy writers”.
George Shapiro dies aged 91 at home in Beverly Hills
Shapiro founded Shapiro/West Associates along with long-time partner Howard West. He was a partner at this prosperous talent management company that assisted in the delivery of the super hit NBC sitcom series “Seinfeld” and several other projects for Andy Kaufman.
Shapiro served as executive producer of the Jerry Seinfeld’s Crackle/Netflix sitcom “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” recently.
Danny De Vito, who featured in the influential sitcom “Taxi,” (1978-1983) recollected Shapiro’s presence during the production of the Paramount Television series that was broadcasted on ABC and NBC networks.
De Vito portrayed the character of Shapiro in the Kaufman biopic “Man On the Moon” released in the year 1999.
De Vito said in a statement, “George was one of the sweetest guys on the planet. We got to see that smiling face every Friday night during the ‘Taxi’ days. He never missed a show. Peace brother.”
National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York released a statement to acknowledge his contribution to the comedy industry. George Shapiro served on the inaugural advisory board. Journey Gunderson, the center’s executive director, said, “He was a firm believer in our mission to celebrate and preserve comedy’s history”.
Early life and education
Primetime Emmy Award nominee and winner Shapiro was born in the year 1931 in the Bronx. He studied at P.S. 80, DeWitt Clinton High School, and New York University (NYU).
Post completion of his studies at NYU, Shapiro started his career at the William Morris Agency in New York. After some time he was promoted to an agent in the company. He was responsible to accompany Elvis Presley during his appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show as part of his assignment.
Notable films and documentaries
He was the producer of several films, documentaries, and comedy specials in his career spanning more than five decades. Some of his notable films are Summer Rental (1985), Summer School (1987), Sibling Rivalry (1990), and Man on the Moon (1999).
He also produced and featured in several documentaries like Comedian (2001), Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond (2017), and The Bronx, USA (2019).
He was the producer of other documentaries like The Bronx Boys (2003), The Bronx Boys Still Playing at 80 (2013), If You’re Not in the Obit, and Eat Breakfast (2017) hosted by Reiner.
Shapiro is survived by his lifelong friend Melody Shapiro and son Danny Shapiro, daughters Carrie Shapiro Fuentes and Stefanie Shapiro. He is also survived by his sibling, Don Shapiro, and five grandchildren – Adam Shapiro, Nathan Fuentes, Audrey Fuentes, Skylar Shapiro, and Alana Shapiro.
Details pertaining to the memorial service will be announced later. Those interested can make donations in his memory to the Festivus Fund via the California Community Foundation.
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