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Norman Brokaw, talent agent who represented Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley, dies at 89

Norman Brokaw poses with the Governor's Award in the press room at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Aug. 21, 2010.
(Associated Press)

Norman R. Brokaw, a trailblazing talent agent who represented Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Clint Eastwood and other top Hollywood stars, has died. He was 89.

Brokaw’s son, David, said his father died Saturday in Beverly Hills after a long illness.

Brokaw ascended from the mailroom of the William Morris Agency to become its chief executive in 1989. Along the way he helped steer actors to work in the fledgling television industry in the 1950s and later signed politicians such as Gerald Ford and Alexander Haig so they could chart careers after they left public service.

His television plan involved teaming up underutilized film stars with directors who were skilled at delivering low-budget movies within a few days, his family said in a news release.

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The formula led to the creation of early television series such as “Racket Squad” and “Public Defender.”

Brokaw later represented the producers behind hit shows such as “The Andy Griffith Show,” “Gomer Pyle,” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.”

He also served as Bill Cosby’s agent, helping get him cast on “I Spy,” which broke television’s color barrier. Brokaw went on to craft deals that led to the creation of “The Cosby Show” and the comedian’s lucrative work as a pitchman.

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 2010 bestowed its Governor’s Award on Brokaw, the only agent to receive the honor.

Part of Brokaw’s work with Monroe involved driving the actress to auditions and appearances, his family said.

After one appearance, Brokaw and Monroe stopped at the Brown Derby restaurant in Los Angeles for dinner, where the actress would first meet her future husband, Joe DiMaggio.

Brokaw is survived by his wife, Marguerite Longley, three sons and three daughters.

carlos.lozano@latimes.com

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