Home


 

The William Morris Agency hired Abe Lastfogel in 1912.

Abe was the seventh son of "a Yiddish-speaking animal skinner who'd fled Russia in 1889 to escape the pogroms and found work in the Gansevoort Street meatpacking district by the docks of the Lower West Side. Born in 1989, the boy had grown up in a cold-water flat on East Forty-ninth Street... He was a scappy kid, compact and solidly built..." (The Agency, pg. 34)

Lastfogel moved to Hollywood in 1932 to set up shop.

During WWII, Lastfogel mounted USO-Camp Shows with more than 7000 performers, including Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, Gary Cooper, Bing Crosby, Dinah Shore and James Stewart, to two hundred million soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines around the world. (pg. 82)

David Lieberman writes in the USA Today 10/16/95 about Frank Rose's book: "The Agency's central character: Morris' legendary chairman Abe Lastfogel. He joined in 1912 and remained a presence until his death in 1984. Lastfogel stood by Edward G. Robinson in the 1950s when studios wrongly believed the tough-guy actor to be a Communist sympathizer. The Morris chief also fought unsuccessfully against racism that kept entertainer Sammy Davis Jr. from landing a TV series. And he helped make Elvis Presley a star. But accountants and lawyers took over after Lastfogel's stroke in 1969. And they made a fateful mistake of firing respected TV chief Phil Weltman, whose proteges included Michael Ovitz and Ron Meyer. Both left Morris to create Creative Artists Agency. CAA stroked stars' egos while dazzling them with shrewd planning - and won enough business to nearly crush Morris' power in film."