George Shapiro, Producer and Manager of Jerry Seinfeld and Andy Kaufman, Has Died At the Age of 91
The NBC hit “Seinfeld” has been a comedy hit since it began in 1989 and people still talk about the show to this day. Sadly, George Shapiro, the founder, and partner in Shapiro/West Associates (the talent management banner that helped begin the popular TV show) has passed away at the age of 91. He died at his home in Beverly Hills on May 26.
Shapiro was the producer and longtime manager of many comedians, including Jerry Seinfeld, Carl Reiner, Andy Kaufman. His most recent role was serving as executive producer of the Crackle/Netflix series “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee,” which was hosted by Seinfeld.
He wasn’t the manager of so many comedy stars for no reason. In fact, he was known by friends and family for his infectious enthusiasm not only in general but also for entertainment business.
“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 family stated.
Many stars who worked with him over the years shared their memories with and respects for Shapiro after he died—and the words really hit home.
“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,” said Danny De Vito said of the Paramount Television series that aired on ABC and NBC.
“[George] believed deeply in our mission to celebrate and preserve comedy’s heritage,” said Journey Gunderson, executive director of the National Comedy Center in Jamestown, N.Y., where Shapiro served as the founding advisory board member.
On a personal note, Shapiro is survived by Melody Shapiro, the mother of his three children, Danny, Carrie and Stefanie. He is also survived by his brother, Don, and his five grandchildren: Adam Shapiro, Nathan Fuentes, Audrey Fuentes, Skylar Shapiro and Alana Shapiro.
A memorial service for Shapiro will be announced for a later date. His family is asking for donations to be made to the Festivus Fund through the California Community Foundation.
One of Shapiro’s highlights was working wit Andy Kaufman—specifically, serving as executive producer for the Showtime special “Andy Kaufman at Carnegie Hall” and ABC’s legendary “The Andy Kaufman Special.”
To hear from Shapiro himself on meeting Kaufman, check out the video below.
Are you a Seinfeld fan, or any of the other shows that Shapiro worked on?
[Image credit: Wikipedia]