Ed Hookstratten, a lawyer and agent to the stars whose clients spanned the news, entertainment and sports world, died at his Beverly Hills home Wednesday from complications related to congestive heart failure. He was 83.
Known as "The Hook," Hookstratten's clients over the course of his lengthy career included Elvis Presley, Johnny Carson, Tom Brokaw, Bryant Gumbel and Dodgers announcer Vin Scully. He also was general counsel of the Los Angeles Rams.
A tough negotiator who wasn't shy about raising his voice, Hookstratten was something of an old-school agent who operated as a lone wolf.
"He was always a one-man band," Brokaw said in an interview." I don't think there will ever be anyone like that again."
Brokaw initially resisted Hookstratten's efforts to represent him. But when
"He literally clutched his chest and said, 'You hired The Hook? Oh, my God,' " Brokaw said, describing the reaction of the NBC executive who was handling negotiations for the network."
Former NBC President Fred Silverman sat across the negotiating table from Hookstratten many times and, despite numerous tense negotiations, had nothing but fond memories of his former professional adversary.
"He fought for his clients," Silverman said. "When you were dealing with Ed he could be formidable."
A flashy character who lunched at The Grill practically every day and used to drive a Rolls-Royce with a "Hook" vanity plate, Hookstratten was also good at getting clients out of jams.
"He got speeding tickets and DUI's fixed for a lot of people," Brokaw said.
Indeed, even Silverman used Hookstratten's skills when he got pulled over in the 1970s.
"I was partying one night and got picked up for driving and drinking and he resolved the whole problem for me without it getting splashed all over the newspapers," Silverman recalled.
Born in Whittier, Edward Gregory Hookstratten attended USC on a baseball scholarship. He received his law degree from Southwestern School of Law.
Hookstratten is survived by his wife Aimee, former wife Pat Crowley Friendly, four children and five grandchildren. His son Jon Hookstratten is a senior executive at Fox Broadcasting.