Bert Fields, the famend leisure litigator whose shoppers included Edward G. Robinson, Jeffrey Katzenberg, Tom Cruise, Warren Beatty, The Beatles and a bunch of different luminaries, studios and expertise companies, has died. He was 93.
Fields died peacefully late Sunday night time at his Malibu house, a spokesperson for his legislation agency, Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger Llp., introduced.
“For forty years, we had been graced with Bert’s brilliance, decency and allure,” stated Bob Baradaran, managing companion of Greenberg Glusker. “Bert was a beloved colleague, pal and mentor who educated a technology of excellent attorneys. We had been blessed to know and work with such a really outstanding lawyer and human being.”
A longtime companion at Greenberg Glusker and mainstay on THR‘s annual Energy Lawyer record, Fields throughout his six-decade profession additionally represented the likes of David Geffen, James Cameron, Dustin Hoffman, Michael Jackson, Mike Nichols, Jerry Bruckheimer, Joel Silver and Madonna; corporations comparable to DreamWorks SKG, MGM, United Artists, The Weinstein Co. and Sony Music; and famed authors together with Mario Puzo, James Clavell, Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler and Richard Bach.
His early shoppers included Robinson — whom he represented in a Fifties divorce squabble over the sale of the actor’s Impressionist paintings — Elaine Could and Peter Falk, and he shaped an alliance with CAA co-founder Michael Ovitz across the time that company was launched in 1975.
Feared round city, Fields grew to become well-known for going through down Paramount Photos and defending writer-director Could’s last lower on her 1976 film Mikey and Nicky — well-known, but additionally infamous, as a result of his leverage within the matter concerned the mysterious disappearance of the one print of the movie below circumstances that Fields maybe engineered.
Certainly, the truth that he allegedly hopped a airplane from New York to Los Angeles simply because the print went lacking in Manhattan instructed he might need been the bagman.
“I cannot go into who did what,” Fields informed The New Yorker in 2006. Mentioned Could: “He was what you at all times thought Perry Mason was. He did all the pieces, and he did it with out pay as a result of I had no cash. I paid him, lastly, a yr later, however he didn’t know I might.”
Fields by no means talked, however Paramount caved, and that was what mattered. Many years later, so did the Walt Disney Co., whom Fields litigated to a reported $280 million settlement on behalf of high movie exec Katzenberg, who had departed the corporate after an acrimonious cut up with then-chairman and CEO Michael Eisner.
Katzenberg claimed that Disney had owed him a slice of the hefty income from such animated hits as The Little Mermaid (1989) and The Lion King (1990). Fields’ questioning revealed that Eisner as soon as had stated of Katzenberg, “I feel I hate the little midget.”
Fields informed Los Angeles Lawyer journal in 2015 that the most effective job he ever had was working in a steady as a teen — his worst was setting pins in a bowling alley — nevertheless it was apparent that he beloved practising legislation as nicely.
Fields represented Beatty when the director refused to chop 4 minutes from Reds (1981) in order that Paramount might promote the movie to ABC, and he gained the case (Beatty had last lower). However when director Michael Cimino was ordered by twentieth Century Fox to chop The Sicilian (1987), he took the studio’s facet and gained once more (though Cimino had last lower, too).
He additionally represented Paramount in its enchantment of the Buchwald v. Paramount case over Coming to America (1988); obtained a multimillion-dollar judgment for George Harrison towards his former enterprise supervisor; and, representing DreamWorks SKG and Steven Spielberg, defeated an utility for an injunction towards the exhibition of Amistad (1997).
Extra lately, Fields represented Jamie McCourt towards her husband, L.A. Dodgers proprietor Frank McCourt, of their 2009 divorce trial; negotiated Cruise’s 2012 divorce settlement with Katie Holmes; and represented Shelly Sterling towards her husband, Donald Sterling, in asking the court docket to substantiate her skill to promote the L.A. Clippers in 2014 (that’s when Donald known as his spouse “a pig”).
For Fields, successful clearly counted — he and his spouse maintained houses within the Hollywood Hills, Malibu, New York, Mexico and France, and he was chauffeured to work every day in a Bentley — however his fame took a success when he was swept up in a scandal that started in 2002 round Anthony Pellicano, a “non-public detective to the celebs” whose tough strategies introduced him greater than a decade in jail for wiretapping, racketeering and weapons possession.
“Scores of individuals retained [Pellicano’s eponymous agency] for its typically unlawful providers,” a federal appeals court docket wrote, and Fields had retained the P.I. many instances throughout a interval of twenty years. Observers questioned what Fields had recognized of the soiled particulars — and so did federal prosecutors, who deemed him “a topic” of their investigation — however in the long run, the lawyer was by no means accused of against the law.
Mentioned Cruise in an announcement: “Bert Fields was a gentleman, a rare human being. He had a strong mind, a eager wit and allure that made one take pleasure in each minute of his firm. I beloved him dearly and at all times will. It was a privilege to be his pal.”
Katzenberg as soon as stated that “watching Bert was like watching a talented surgeon.”
Mentioned Bruckheimer: “Bert Fields, my lawyer, expensive pal and trusted confidante for over 40 years, was one of the extraordinary males I’ve ever met … Bert was that uncommon one that might obtain absolutely anything. He was a superb litigator, a scholar, lecturer, historian and writer. He was extraordinarily witty and charming with all of the class of a real gentleman. However he additionally had the willpower and grit of a avenue fighter. Bert Fields was a heavyweight. He completed all of it with dignity and gusto and his indomitable zest for all times and journey.”
Born in Los Angeles on March 31, 1929, Bertram Fields was the one little one of Mildred Arlyn Ruben, a former ballet dancer, and Maxwell Fields, an eye fixed surgeon whose sufferers included Groucho Marx and Mae West. For a time in his teenagers, after his dad and mom divorced, he lived in a boarding home and labored as a caddy.
At UCLA, Fields obtained a bachelor’s diploma at age 20 after which his legislation diploma three years later in 1952 from Harvard Legislation College, the place he was an editor of the Harvard Legislation Assessment and graduated magna cum laude. He married his faculty sweetheart, Amy Markson, and served on the school at Stanford Legislation College.
Fields was within the U.S. Air Drive through the Korean Struggle as a primary lieutenant — in England, he was assigned courts-martial — then started practising legislation at a Beverly Hills agency in 1955, the yr his son, James, was born.
Fields stated he gained his first jury trial, a case wherein he “represented a person who had been accused of groping an undercover vice squad officer standing on the urinal of a skid row film home.”
On a 1967 episode of NBC’s Dragnet, he portrayed a prosecutor (Jack Webb, the present’s creator, was a consumer).
A member of the Council on International Relations and an adjunct professor at Stanford Legislation College, Fields additionally was an writer, having revealed 4 novels — two below the pseudonym D. Kincaid — as nicely a biographical work on Richard III, a guide analyzing the authorship of Shakespeare’s works and 2020’s Summing Up: A Skilled Memoir, recounting his profession.
When Puzo died whereas engaged on The Household, Fields completed it for him (Puzo had left him notes).
He additionally performed the vibraphone for Hollywood’s Les Deux Love Orchestra.
After his transient marriage to Markson, he married trend mannequin Lydia Menovich, whom he met as a consumer, in 1960. She died of lung most cancers in 1986, leaving the lawyer heartbroken. Ovitz finally tried to set him up with a pal, internationally recognized artwork marketing consultant Barbara Guggenheim, at first to no avail, however Guggenheim later grew to become a Fields consumer, they usually wed in 1991.
She survives him, as does his son, John, and his grandchildren, Annabelle and Michael.
Lots of Fields’ shoppers had been bigger than life, and he hoped to increase his attain into the afterlife as nicely. “There’s a enormous worth within the post-death rights of performers, actors [and] musicians,” he stated in a June 2015 speech. “I’m hopeful of representing synthespians.”
This text was initially revealed by The Hollywood Reporter.
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