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George Shapiro, Talent Manager Who Pushed for ‘Seinfeld,’ Dies at 91


He was soon promoted to agent, with a salary of $38 every week, before eventually moving to the corporate’s Los Angeles office, where he specialized in packaging mid-Nineteen Sixties TV series like “Gomer Pyle — USMC” and “That Girl” with the actors, author and directors represented by William Morris.

But Mr. Shapiro disliked being accountable for so many consumers, and so in 1973 he began his own management firm to give attention to just a few preferred ones. Mr. West, with whom he had worked at William Morris, soon joined him, and so they ran Shapiro/West & Associates until Mr. West’s death in 2015.

To push for a sitcom for Mr. Seinfeld, Mr. Shapiro sent quite a few letters to Brandon Tartikoff, the president of NBC Entertainment. The nudging eventually led to a gathering with Mr. Tartikoff and other network executives at which Mr. Seinfeld laid down a firm rule.

“Jerry made one thing clear,” Mr. Shapiro told the Television Academy. “He said, ‘I’m not going to play a shoe salesman or an accountant or a father with a job.’ And he got here up with the premise of the series, that he would play himself.”

Lately, Mr. Shapiro produced “If You’re Not within the Obit, Eat Breakfast” (2017), a documentary wherein Mr. Reiner talked to nonagenarians like Betty White and Dick Van Dyke, and “The Super Bob Einstein Movie” (2021), in regards to the comic actor and author known for his ongoing television portrayal of Super Dave Osborne, a hapless parody of a daredevil.

Mr. Shapiro is survived by his former wife, Melody (Sherr) Shapiro, from whom he was divorced; his daughters, Carrie Shapiro Fuentes and Stefanie Shapiro; a son, Danny; five grandchildren; and his brother. His marriage to Diane Barnett ended along with her death in 2005.

Mr. Reiner’s son Rob Reiner, the actor and director, said Mr. Shapiro had been a nurturer, professionally and personally.

“He loved my dad, he looked as much as him — he was like a father to him,” said Mr. Reiner, whose company, Castle Rock Entertainment, produced “Seinfeld.” “George loved being around my dad, and when he began getting older, he’d come over to the home and walk him across the block. That’s the thing it’s essential find out about George: He took care of everybody.”

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