HomeCelebrity NewsA 92-year-old representative of Carol Burnett, James Garner and many others passes away

A 92-year-old representative of Carol Burnett, James Garner and many others passes away

In his long career, Bill Robinson represented the likes of Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, Carol Burnett, James Garner, and Robert Duvall. The 92-year-old man died. After a long illness, Robinson died on Aug. 6 at his home in Malibu, according to his family.

Mike Medavoy (real name Morris) got his first agent job from Robinson, as did Judith Anderson, Tony Bill, Glenda Jackson, Waylon Jennings, Jayne Mansfield, Maggie Smith, and Waylon Jennings.

“’You’ll have a hard time in this business as a Morris,’ Bill Robinson told me when he hired me … at his agency,’ Medavoy wrote in 2002 in his book, You’re Only as Good as Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Films, and 100 for Which I Should Be Shot, the producer and studio executive said.

He asked, ‘What’s your middle name?’ ‘Mike,’ I replied. No matter how much I liked my first name, I never really liked it. I did not have anything to do with my naming. It was Mike … Medavoy, he repeated. “That’s fine,” he said.

According to Burnett, in a statement. “Being friends with Bill since 1959, I have known him for many, many years. During my time on The Garry Moore Show, we became friends. I later hired him to manage my show when I was doing it. This is not just about my manager. My closest friend in the world was him. “I will miss him a lot.”

Born in 1929 in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Robinson moved to Los Angeles with his family at the age of 16 and lived there until his death. As soon as he graduated from high school, he began working as a dress salesman. After serving in the United States Army during the Korean War, Robinson landed a job at NBC as a page and was soon urged to become an agent by actress-director Ida Lupino.

Taking her advice, he began working in the MCA mailroom; he apprenticed under Lew Wasserman and became a talent agent, representing small-time musical acts in the Southwest. Following Kurt Frings, he moved over to Ashley-Famous, where he represented Hepburn.

Ted Ashley, the founder of Ashley-Famous, gave him a check for $50,000 to assist him with starting his own business. It was known that Robinson wore casual clothing to work every day and that he carried packages up and down Rodeo Drive with his golden retriever, Marmalade.

In time, he sold the Robinson Agency and became a senior vice president at ICM, where he mentored young agents. Besides UCLA, he also taught at Pepperdine University. In the words of actor-producer Bill, Robinson “never “signed a client” because he didn’t have a contract with any. I had the honor of being represented by Bill: a friend to the end.”

In his 2011 memoir, The Garner Files, Garner wrote that he turned down so many scripts that his manager Bill Robinson always says he’d prefer to turn down 5 percent of what I do than 10 percent.” The book included Robinson’s insights into movie star finances: “Actors don’t make what people think they do.” Every actor has an agent who gets 10 percent of his or her earnings.

For every $1 million the actor earns for a movie, the agent earns $100,000. Studios are required to deduct 25 percent withholding tax from actor payments over $1 million. The actor gets $750,000 instead of $1 million from which to pay $100,000 to the agent.

The agent gets 10 percent of the gross, as well as a business manager, gets between 5 and 7 percent and a monthly guarantee. The business manager has just as much work to do even if the actor is not working for a year. Every month he gets paid even though he’s managing investments, filing tax returns, writing checks, and paying bills.

“And then there’s public relations. In the past, the good ones worked on percentages, but now they don’t. Now they earn a monthly fee, anywhere from $600 to $2,500, for the same reason. Even when an actor isn’t working, they’re arranging interviews, getting his picture on magazine covers, etc. The role of managers has changed over the past 20 years.

The State of California allows managers to produce and cast their clients in movies, so they can make whatever they want as producers and commission their clients for acting roles. Typically, managers get 5% to 15% of the gross. Due to the withholding tax, if an actor is paid $1 million for a movie, he will receive only $750,000 from the studio.

He will pay $100,000 to his agent, $50,000 to his PR person, and another $50,000 to his business manager. From $1 million, he is left with $300,000. Stars still make astronomical salaries, but it’s not as many people think.”


Robert Poirrer is a contributing author who covers Hollywood latest movie releases and web series for the MovieThop website. He has a decade of experience in writing movies based articles for numerous renowned media outlets. He is excellent at creating unique content based on emerging trends in a variety of categories especially entertainment, movies and lifestyle. When not writing articles you could find Robert enjoying mountain biking trips with his friends. He graduated in English Literature from North Carolina State University.