The well-known manager and producer who helped to launch the career of Robin Williams passed this Monday night following an ongoing battle with leukemia, aged 73. Tragically, Bronx born Larry Brezner was diagnosed with the disease mere months ago and was undergoing treatment when he died.
Brezner, who has often been described as an affable, kindhearted man was much loved within the industry and is famed for his involvement with the careers of Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Martin Short, Bette Midler, Omar Benson Miller and Sean Kelly.
David Steinberg, Brezner's business affiliate at Brezner Steinberg Partners, produced and managed acts alongside Larry for 40 years and claims that amongst all the comedy actors they worked with, Larry was the funniest person he'd ever met.
Always behind-the-scenes and never demanding fanfare, Brezner's long career focused on producing works he was genuinely proud of rather than seeking out the glitz and glamour Hollywood constantly dangles. Putting together around 20 movies, Dudley Moore's Arthur, Throw Momma from the Train, The 'Burbs and Coupe de Ville were amongst the most notable.
Brezner was also involved with Good Morning, Vietnam, the 1987 classic which not only launched Robin Williams feature career but also landed Williams with his first Oscar nomination.
Executive, producer and director Joe Roth worked with Brezner during Coupe de Ville, sparking a lifelong friendship between the pair.
“Larry was, first of all, a great guy. I really appreciated his friendship and he really supported me when I was an executive at Fox. I did a lot of movies with Billy and Robin, and he was there every step of the way. You know, he had a rough edge to him and that was his way of hopelessly trying to hide his soft heart. He used to say, ‘You gotta know funny. Either you’re funny or not funny.’ I’m very sorry this happened.”
His 'soft heart' was clearly not hidden so deeply, as in 1986 he helped to organize the Comic Relief fundraiser which Billy Crystal, Robin Williams and Whoopi Goldberg collectively hosted to benefit the homeless.
According to Deadline, the movie Brezner was proudest of producing throughout his entire career was The Greatest Game Ever Played. Although he was notorious for working with comedies, this particular film told the tale of a young man named Francis Ouimet, played by Shia LeBeouf, an immigrant who became the first amateur to win the U.S. U.S. Open in 1913
Actor Marty Short concludes Brezner was:
“a deeply lovely man who made me laugh every time I was lucky enough to be around him.”