Attorney Howard Weitzman, who had a client list that included Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson, Marlon Brando, Morgan Freeman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ron Meyer, and CAA, has passed away at the age of 81.
Kinsella Weitzman’s founding partner Iser Kump & Aldisert died of cancer in his hometown of Los Angeles on Wednesday.
One of the first attorneys to retire from NFL superstar Simpson’s defense in his infamous criminal trial for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her boyfriend, Ron Goldman, Weitzman was a powerhouse between the sharp elbows of Hollywood lawyers. Unlike many in the higher echelons of his profession, Weitzman worked on both sides of the Hollywood power game. After serving as EVP, Corporate Operations for Universal Studios from 1995-1998, the Class of 1965 USC Law Center grad also taught at his alma mater for over a decade.
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However, it was in often ruthless service to his clients that the quick-witted and strategic Weitzman left his mark in legal circles.
After the death of the King of Pop in 2009, Weitzman teamed up with fellow attorney John Branca and recording manager John McClain to turn Jackson’s legacy deep into the red. Within a few years, the estate thrived, thanks in no small part to the sale of $ 750 million of the artist’s lucrative 50% stake in Sony / ATV Music Publishing to Sony Corp, which Weitzman helped orchestrate.
At the end of last year, Weitzman continued to fly with the Thriller the singer’s flag in representing Jackson’s estate in his $ 100 million fight against HBO because of his Leaving Neverland documentary and his allegations of the artist’s sexual misconduct with young boys. Weitzman pulled a decades-old contract between Jackson and the premium cabler on a concert film and managed to convince the courts to take the case to arbitration, even after an appeal from HBO.
Weitzman, who twice received the Jerry Geisler Memorial Award as the Outstanding Los Angeles County Trial Attorney, is survived by his wife Margaret and his two sons.