Longtime William Morris agent Steve Weiss died today after a battle with cancer. Weiss comes from a long WMA lineage — his father, Lou Weiss, was longtime chairman and chairman emeritus of the agency. As fate would have it, today is Lou’s 95th birthday. Steve Weiss started at WMA in 1971 when he enrolled in the training program and landed in the mailroom. He spent 35 years at WMA, rising to VP and top literary and packaging agent who represented A-list writers and packaged numerous TV series and TV movies, including Murphy Brown, whose creator Diane English was among his clients. Former colleagues of Weiss, who left WMA several years ago to become a manager, describe him as a kindhearted man and a gentle soul who embodied the old-school hospitality and principals of WMA. In addition to his father, Weiss is survived by his mother, Alice; his wife, Amy Weiss, manager at Brillstein Entertainment; three children and several grandchildren as well as three siblings — brothers Evan Weiss, manager at The Collective, and Jeff Weiss, and sister Ann Weiss as well as brother-in-law, screenwriter Richard LaGravenese. In a 1997 interview, Steve was asked about his formula for a good agent-writer relationship. “Open communication… honesty,” he said. “I don’t give my clients false hope or make vacant promises. I have a policy of being honest.”
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