NEW YORK (CelebrityAccess) — Producer and manager Jack Rollins, who played an instrumental role in the careers of comedians from Lenny Bruce to Robin Williams, died on June 18th at his Manhattan home. He was 100.
A manager with a sharp eye for talent, Rollins, and his business partner Charles H. Joffe, were the leading comedy managers of the 1960s, influencing not only live comedy, but television, film, music, movies and Broadway. Rollins, who, with his customary cigar fit the bill of many people's picture of a talent manager, started his career as a Broadway producer after World War II but soon founded a talent agency, representing actors, and musicians before partnering with Joffe and turning to comedy.
Rollins oversaw a client roster that included Woody Allen, Billy Crystal, David Letterman, Robin Williams, Lenny Bruce, Dick Cavett and the comedy team of Nichols and May.
Rollins also managed the early career of a young Harry Belafonte, suggesting that Belafonte transition from pop to calypso music. While Belafonte did not remain a client, he would go on to be successful with Rollin's formula.
Rollins also had numerous producer credits, serving as executive producer on Late Night With David Letterman 1983-1991; the Dick Cavett show from 1970-1972 and all of Woody Allen's films. His work as a producer earned him 10 Emmy nominations over the course of his career.
In 1990, Rollins and Joffe sold their agency and returned to a two-person partnership and Rollins retired in 1992.
Rollins is survived by his three daughters, Susan, Hillary and Francesca and four grandchildrenn. His wife, singer Jane Martin died in 2012. – Staff Writers