Jay Bernstein, 68; manager launched Hollywood stars to fame
By Dennis McLellan, Los Angeles Times | May 6, 2006
LOS ANGELES -- Jay Bernstein, the flamboyant Hollywood personal manager best known as the ''star-maker" who launched Farrah Fawcett and Suzanne Somers to fame in the 1970s, has died. He was 68.
I interviewed Jay Bernstein at his home two or three years ago for research into the life of Nick Adams. Bernstein was cordial and gave me two hours of his time. He was pleased that anyone was interested enough in Nick Adams to want to write a book about him. Adams and Robert Conrad were Bernstein's clients and best frends, though Bernstein and Adams had a falling out after Adams discovered that Bernstein had had an affair with Carol Adams while Nick was in Japan. Nevertheless, Jay remembered Nick fondly.
When I interviewed him, Jay tacitly admitted his career in Hollywood was basically over, although he was trying to launch a TV series about the LA public defender's office. He knew his time had passed. After my sister and I entered his house and sat down, his Hispanic housekeeper Dalmi, who was his friend and confidante, put a video tape into the TV before us which then played a mini-biography of Bernstein's life patched together from stories done by various TV shows in better days.
My sister chuckled and said he was a ham, but I realized that Bernstein introduced himself because he assumed that we were unaware of his reputation.
When we had talked for a while, Bernstein revealed that he was in his sixties and that he was having a young lady come over for a date after we finished. He asked us not to reveal his age to her. His date, Erin, was an aspiring actress who had attended one of Bernstein's seminars. She was indeed young and attractive.
I only met Bernstein that one time, but I liked him. Of course he may have given me his time because his days were no longer occupied by career concerns. I'd like to think he would have spoken to me about his friend Nick even in his heyday.
There's a little irony in the Variety obit, as it's written by Patti Saperstein, the daughter of the late Henry G. Saperstein, who coproduced Nick's Toho science fiction films. It's a small world.
Bernstein's concerns that he was already forgotten were proven right, alas. I only learned of his death after reading about it on Burl Barer's blog.
I feel a little poignant after reading that Jay Bernstein died. We work and strive and worry and obsess about so many things. Then we are gone, forgotten by most, a fading memory to a few.