Jay G Jacobs, a longtime William Morris agent who represented such artists as The Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and
Diana Ross, died peacefully in his sleep Nov. 18 at the Motion Picture Home in Woodland Hills after a brief battle with lung and bone cancer. He was 79.
Born in Philadelphia in 1942, Jacobs grew up an avid fan of film, TV, and music. Still a teenager, he started his career in 1961 when he landed a job at the mail room of the William Morris Agency in New York. He worked at the agency for three decades and was a founding member of the agency’s music department. He worked with artists across all genres, from rock and country to jazz and R&B, including The Beach Boys, The Monkeys, The Supremes, Simon & Garfunkel, Diana Ross, Ashford & Simpson, George Benson, Teddy Pendergrass, Al Jarreau as well as Crosby, Stills, and Nash.
In a recent MPTF profile, Jacobs recalled one of his first bookings, The Rolling Stones at Auburn University, where they got an unheard-of for the time $25,000.
“It was really thrilling because when I was 21 or 22,” he said in the interview. “I represented The Beach Boys back in the day, getting $7,500 a night. I created the very first percentage date with them where they got about 70% of the gross at the door, and they walked out with $28,000. That was an amazing steppingstone to getting percentages for the groups instead of flat fees.”
After almost 30 years at WMA, Jacobs left in 1991 for a 3.5-year stint at ICM before retiring from the agency business.
Jacobs spent the final years of his life as coordinator of the William Morris Agency Alumni, a collaborative group of over 500 (mostly retired) William Morris agents and management.
In May 2021, Jacobs broke his foot. CT and other tests for the injury revealed a Stage IV lung and bone cancer. With his beloved golden retriever Kona, he moved into the MPTF Hersholt Place at the Motion Picture Home where he spent his final months. Jacobs is survived by his son Joey and daughter Melissa.
Jacobs, who had received assistance from the Motion Picture & Television Fund for the past decade. always praised the staff and community at the fund for literally adding years to his life, his son said. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation to MPTF to help support the community. https://mptf.com/donate