Lew Wasserman: Last of the Hollywood titans
A common theme weaves through the tapestry of Hollywood's history—Lew Wasserman. Jack Valenti called Wasserman a "Zeus." Media professor George Custen called Wasserman "the last of the titans of Hollywood." And Dennis McDougal titled his biography of Wasserman "The Last Mogul." Wasserman, whose influence on the entertainment industry and its evolution in the half-century preceding the millennium is unprecedented, was truly a king, as dynamic and competent as he was feared. Wasserman was born in 1913 in Cleveland. His parents were Russian immigrants who failed more than once in their efforts to run a small restaurant. While in high school Wasserman worked full time as an usher at the Palace Theater. In 1935, Wasserman married Edie Beckerman, the daughter of a lawyer and Republican political power broker who had lost his fortune. After their wedding, Wasserman went to work for Mayfair Casino, a Cleveland nightclub. Within a year he was heading its public relations.