Sol Leon, 90; Represented Major Hollywood Stars
Sol Leon, an executive vice president of the William Morris agency whose career representing major entertainment and literary figures spanned more than 60 years, has died. He was 90.
Leon died Friday of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
At William Morris, Leon’s list of clients over the years included Woody Allen, Joan Crawford, Merv Griffin, Dick Van Dyke and Carl Sandburg.
According to the agency, it was Leon who brought film actress Loretta Young to network television in 1953 on NBC. Young became one of the first Oscar winners to pull in an Emmy Award, which she won for her series in 1955.
He was also instrumental, the agency said, in helping broker the deal selling Griffin’s production entity to Coca-Cola in 1988 for $250 million.
A native of New York City, Leon attended New York University and City College of New York. He earned his law degree from the Brooklyn Law School and joined the Morris agency in 1940 while awaiting admission to the New York State Bar Assn.
Leon initially ran the company’s mailroom before joining the business affairs department. He became an agent in the firm’s radio branch and later drew up the first television contract for then-client Milton Berle.
Leon served in the Army Signal Corps during World War II. After the war, he returned to William Morris and eventually became head of the New York television department.
In 1975, he moved west to the agency’s corporate headquarters in Beverly Hills.
His wife of more than 50 years, Lee Eichenbaum, died in 2000. He married Yong S. Jones recently.
He is survived by Jones, as well as a son, Steve Leon of Beverly Hills; a daughter, Susan Fredman of Larchmont, N.Y.; and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. today at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.