Irving Fein, a veteran studio publicist who became the longtime manager of Jack Benny and later George Burns, died Friday. He was 101. The Brooklyn native began his showbiz career in the publicity and advertising department at Warner Brothers in New York City. After he earned his law degree he was offered a job in the WB legal department but instead moved to the West Coast and began working in the Warners mailroom. Eventually he worked in publicity at Warner Bros, Columbia Pictures and MGM. In 1947 he went to work for Jack Benny as the radio and TV star’s publicity and advertising director and then became his manager. Fein accepted a job as an executive at CBS in 1956 and moved to New York but in less than a year moved back to Hollywood to return to work for Benny as president of J&M Productions, which produced Benny’s own TV show and a handful of others. After Benny’s weekly TV show ended in 1965 Fein continued as executive producer of his yearly specials on NBC. Fein’s association with Benny lasted 28 years. Toward the end of Benny’s life, Fein began working with George Burns and became his manager after Gracie Allen died. Fein also wrote a biography, Jack Benny: An Intimate Biography, for which Burns wrote the introduction. Fein’s 22-year association with Burns continued through the end of the comedian’s life in 1996. Fein handled Burns’ stand-up appearances in Las Vegas and on network TV as well as his movie career that included a Supporting Actor Oscar-winning role for The Sunshine Boys, and assembling an impressive gathering of celebrities for Burns’ 100th birthday celebration. Survived by his second wife Marion Schecter and three children including TV producer Tisha Fein. (Photo of Fein from interview posted on TV Academy Archive of American Television)
R.I.P. Irving Fein
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