Showbiz attorney Rudin dies at 79

Lawyer repped Sinatra, Monroe, Jackson Five

Milton A. “Mickey” Rudin, a showbiz attorney who repped Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Marilyn Monroe in 52 years of bare-knuckled practice, has died. He was 79.

Cause of death was pneumonia. Rudin died Monday at the Rehabilitation Center of Beverly Hills.

Rudin gained notice for a pug-nosed style that mirrored the rakish ways of Rat Packers like Sinatra, with whom he eventually partnered on business ventures in Las Vegas.

The pair’s involvement in casinos drew scrutiny from federal authorities for years, but no charges stuck.

Rudin’s manner didn’t help to dispel suspicion. With his trademark scabrous wit, he was known to joke about “breaking legs” and other Mafia-style tactics.

But those who knew and worked with him say Rudin had abundant substance to match his style as he sought to remain thoroughly involved in his clients’ affairs.

That approach landed him small parts in several films, including a turn as a judge in “Robin and the 7 Hoods,” starring Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Bing Crosby and Peter Falk.

“He was their lawyer, he was their friend, he was their consigliere,” said Bruce Ramer, a partner in the BevHills firm of Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown, where Rudin served as partner from 1949 to 1966. “He was an utterly brilliant lawyer and an unforgettable character.”

Born in New York, Rudin moved to California in 1936 and earned a B.A. from UCLA in 1941. He got a law degree from Harvard and served in the U.S. Army’s Signal Corps during World War II.

After just a couple years in Hollywood, his clients spanned virtually all fields and genres. He repped moguls Marvin Davis, Steve Ross and Steve Wynn as well as Elizabeth Taylor, Cher and music groups such as Steely Dan and the Jackson Five.

“He had the type of practice you just don’t see today,” said William Skrzyniarz, a longtime showbiz attorney who dealt with Rudin regularly in his later years. “There were just a handful of entertainment attorneys when he began and they became stars.”

Rudin is survived by his wife, Mary Carol, son Michael, daughters Lisa and Pam, and two grandchildren.

A private memorial service is set for Monday at Westwood Memorial Park.

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