Robert D. Wachs, who discovered comedian Eddie Murphy, managed him for more than a decade and produced a number of his films, died of pancreatic cancer in Manhattan on December 2. He was 73.
In 1975 Wachs co-founded the Comic Strip in New York City, where he discovered Murphy, then just a teenager. Comedians Jerry Seinfeld, Adam Sandler, Chris Rock, Billy Crystal, Bill Maher, Carol Leifer and Sam Kinison also worked their early in their careers.
Wachs was instrumental in securing Murphy’s gig on “Saturday Night Live.” As part of Eddie Murphy Productions, Wachs produced several of Murphy’s films and documentaries, including “48 Hrs.” (1982), “Eddie Murphy Delirious” (1983), “Eddie Murphy Raw” (1987), “The Golden Child” (1986), “Coming to America” (1988), “Harlem Nights” (1989) and “Another 48 Hrs.” (1990). He also produced and co-wrote (with Murphy) the story for “Beverly Hills Cop II” (1987).
In addition, Wachs managed Arsenio Hall and produced “The Arsenio Hall Show” (1989).
At the time of his death he was working on a musical, “Last Dance,” featuring the music of Paul Jabara.
Robert Donald Wachs was born in New York City. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the College of William and Mary in 1961 and from Harvard Law School in 1964. He worked in the entertainment department of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison until he left to start his own firm.
He was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Writers Guild of America.
Wachs established the Helen Wachs Golf Scholarship, in honor of his mother, the Irving Wachs Scholarship Fund, a tribute to his father, and the Eddie Murphy Scholarship, which, through Harvard University, provided financial aid to minority students in New York.
Wachs, is survived by his wife Tess, daughter Ilana Davis, son Scott, and four grandchildren.