Former road manager for Count Basie, Billy Eckstine
Bernie Ebbins, former road manager for Count Basie and Billy Eckstine, died Dec. 27 in Los Angeles. He was 88.Born in Springfield, Mass., he started his career as a photographer during WWII and after the war, began working for singer Billy Eckstine, one of the first black singers to cross over to white audiences. Ebbins was also the road manager for Vic Damone and Mort Sahl. He also worked and traveled with Count Basie and Billie Holliday and later with Count Basie and Frank Sinatra. In 1959, he went to work for William Morris in the projection room, where he ran films for WMA clients including Frank Sinatra, Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. He moved on to the agency’s syndication department and then went to Paramount’s syndication department, where he was in charge of shipping prints all over the world until his retirement. Throughout his career, he enjoyed friendships with showbiz associates including Delores Hart, the actress who retired to become a nun, and comedian Shecky Greene. He is survived by brother Milton, a former personal manager and two nephews. Donations may be made to the Abbey of Regina Laudis, care of Mother Delores Hart, 273 Flanders Rd., Bethlehem, CT 06751.