Powerhouse Showbiz lawyer who worked on landmark cases was 93 – Deadline

Fields Bertthe powerful and relentlessly loyal entertainment attorney who has represented clients such as Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Tom Cruise, george lucas, the Beatles, Michael Jackson and many others in a myriad of Hollywood headline affairs, has died. He was 93 years old.

His rep told Deadline that Fields died Sunday at his Malibu home with his longtime wife Barbara Guggenheim by his side.

A partner at Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, Fields has tried many landmark cases in the entertainment and communications industries over the past decades. He has represented most major Hollywood studios and talent agencies during his singular career and other bold names such as Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, James Cameron, Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, Mike Nichols, Jerry Bruckheimer, Joel Silver, Madonna and writers Mario Puzo. , James Clavell, Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler.

Q&A on Bert Fields: Disney Ban, George Lucas, James Cameron, Harvey Weinstein, Napoleon and The Next Big Thing

Harvey WeinsteinTold The New York Times in 2005, “In the entertainment business, going into litigation without Bert Fields is like walking in the Arctic without a jacket.”

An accomplished negotiator and shrewd storyteller, the suave Fields was as much a lover of history as he was a Hollywood insider. After publishing a memoir in 2020, Fields was deeply proud of his literary output with works on the authorship debate of Shakespeare, Richard III and Elizabeth I and a novel on Napoleon and Josephine, among others over the years.

Fields was a prolific writer. When The Godfather author and client Puzo died on which he was working Family, Fields finished it. Puzo, who admired Fields’ writing style in his legal memoirs, left notes for Fields about the Borgias so Fields could complete the historical novel.

“For 40 years we have been blessed with Bert’s brilliance, decency and charm,” said Bob Baradaran, managing partner of Greenberg Glusker, where Fields has spent most of his career. “Bert was a beloved colleague, friend and mentor who nurtured a generation of exceptional lawyers. We were fortunate to know and work with such a remarkable lawyer and human being.

His many high-profile deals and affairs included replacing Katzenberg in his messy divorce from Disney, Lucas in his Disney theme park deal, and Jackson in his landmark deal with Sony Music. Fields also won a huge award for The Beatles and Apple Corps during the Beatlemania musical, and another later for George Harrison against his ex-entrepreneur. He represented Paramount in its appeal of Buchwald v. Paramount deal done Coming to America, and Beatty’s fight to prevent Paramount from cutting a few minutes from his film Reds.

Said Cruise, a longtime client: “Bert Fields was a gentleman; an extraordinary human being. He had a powerful intelligence, a quick wit, and a charm that made every minute of his company enjoyed. I loved him very much and will always love him. It was a privilege to be his friend. »

Fields also replaced DreamWorks SKG and Steven Spielberg for denying an injunction against the exhibition of the Oscar winner’s 1997 film. Amistad.

“Watching Bert was like watching a skilled surgeon,” Katzenberg said.

Fields was “banned” from Disney by then-boss Michael Eisner.

“I think it was over Lucas, I’m not sure,” he told Deadline in a 2015 interview. Disney at the time, and he had invited me to lunch, and he was like, ‘Look, I’m sorry about this and I’m going to try to make it work.’ And he did. I was starting a strike by all the major entertainment lawyers against Disney. I was going to say that if they cut me out, none of us are going to have anything to do with Disney. But I had no idea. not have to because Jeffrey made Eisner back down.

Fields was also a key figure in the case of Anthony Pellicano, the disgraced and convicted private investigator who specialized in digging up dirt on Hollywood heavy hitters by any means necessary — often illegally.

“I have lost my dearest friend, colleague and mentor,” said Greenberg Glusker Partner Pierce O’Donnell. “An American original, Bert was quite simply the greatest lawyer of his time in the same league as Clarence Darrow and Louis Nizer. Always a gentleman, Bert lived his life in his own way. Tireless, Bert was truly a Renaissance man : author, actor, storyteller and music lover who knew all the words of Cole Porter I will miss Bert more than words can express.

Bertram Fields was born on March 31, 1929 in Los Angeles. After going to UCLA, he graduated with much praise from Harvard Law School, where he served as editor of Harvard Law Review. After serving as a first lieutenant in the US Air Force during the Korean War, he began his law practice. He then taught at Stanford Law School and lectured annually at Harvard.

Fields is survived by his wife, Barbara Guggenheim, a nationally known art consultant; his son, James Elder; his grandson, Michael Lane; and his granddaughter, Annabelle.

Dominic Patten and Ted Johnson contributed to this report.

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