Take away his career as Hollywood’s most feared litigator, and Bertram Fields still has a pretty decent resume.
The son of a surgeon who counted Mae West and Groucho Marx as patients, Fields graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1952.
He’s written two novels under a pseudonym and, more recently, two historical tomes for ReganBooks/HarperCollins — one that’s structured as a legal draft arguing for the acquittal of Richard III on long-standing murder charges, and the other questioning and analyzing whether William Shakespeare actually wrote some of the more famous works that have been credited to him.
Fields is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and he’s been profiled by the New Yorker, the New York Times, the London Sunday Times and Vanity Fair, just to name a few outlets.
He’s married to a noted art consultant.
That should be enough achievements for anyone, but the Greenberg Glusker attorney, now an octogenarian, remains a force on the Hollywood legal scene.
Reportedly billing $900 an hour, Fields has a top-shelf client list that has included DreamWorks, MGM, United Artists, the Weinstein Co., Tom Cruise, Warren Beatty, Dustin Hoffman, James Cameron, Mike Nichols, Jeffrey Katzenberg, David Geffen, Jerry Bruckheimer, the Beatles and Madonna. He’s also repped authors such as Mario Puzo, Tom Clancy and Clive Cussler.
Fields’ recent litigation on behalf of Cussler, who was just ordered to pay Philip Anschutz’s Crusader Entertainment nearly $14 million in legal fees in a dispute over the box office dud “Sahara,” was among only a few instances in which the attorney didn’t win big. (Cussler is appealing the ruling.)
Last year, it was predicted that he’d suffer a career-ending setback amid the wiretapping trial of his former P.I., Anthony Pellicano. But just as the trial failed miserably to live up to its lofty billing as an O.J. Simpson-level media event, Fields’ fallout never materialized either. He never even took the stand.
And the winning continues. Fields helped Judith Regan to a multimillion-dollar settlement in her wrongful-termination case against Rupert Murdoch and News Corp.