Jerry Weintraub: When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead
Did you know that former rock manager, film producer and chairman and CEO of United Artists Jerry Weintraub went to Leonid Brezhnev's funeral at the Kremlin and had better seats than some politicians? That he lifted John Denver from obscurity in Greenwich Village and got him multimillion dollar TV specials and record deals within a matter of a couple of years? That he booked Elvis Presley and produced such films as The Karate Kid and Diner?
Along with Rich Cohen, Weintraub has authored a book of "unusual stories from a persuasive man" called When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead. From his childhood in the Bronx to his stint in the mailroom of a major entertainment agency to his refusal to wear tights in an acting class that included James Caan (who did wear them) to the crazy world or rock and roll where he worked with the likes of Bob Dylan, Elvis, Aerosmith, Led Zeppelin, Queen, the Eagles, the Beach Boys…the list goes on and on.
What I especially like about Wentraub is his matter-of-fact, I-just-went-for-it-and- sometimes-failed-sometimes-got-my-way anecdotes. He doesn't bluster nor does he play humble all that often. He's as grateful for his fortunes as he is realistic about the hard work it took to get them. You have to love the trials of his times with Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley, as well as his tolerance of John Denver's insecurities and Zeppelin's excesses. Through it all — from his appearances in the recent films to raising a brood of adopted kids — Weintraub could really be called “the greatest showman on earth.” At least, he'd tell you so.
~ Ralph Greco, Jr.