Larry Brezner, a principal of Brezner Steinberg Partners with extensive producing credits, died Monday night at City of Hope Hospital in Duarte of complications from leukemia. He was 73.
The well-liked Brezner entered the hospital for treatment in July after he was diagnosed with the disease, according to longtime business partner David Steinberg.
Brezner played a key role in developing the careers of Billy Crystal, Robin Williams, Martin Short and Bette Midler and was credited with working effectively behind the scenes to set up movie projects. He produced Crystal’s “Throw Momma From the Train” and Williams’ “Good Morning, Vietnam” along with “The Burbs,” “The Vanishing,” “Freddie Got Fingered,” “Coupe de Ville,” “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” the Russell Brand remake of “Arthur” and “Ride Along.”
“He had a great eye for comedy talent and was the funniest person I ever met,” Steinberg said. “He was truly one of a kind.”
Brezner was a native of the Bronx. He graduated from Bridgeport University, then attended graduate school at St. John’s University and received a degree in psychology and then a master’s from John Hopkins University.
Brezner broke into the entertainment business in the early ’70s as the owner of a health-food restaurant and nightclub in Manhattan on the Upper West Side. He met singer Melissa Manchester when she performed at the club and was her husband for seven years along with serving as her manager.
Brezner joined the Rollins and Joffe talent agency in New York and met Steinberg while he was managing Martin Mull. Steinberg went to work for Brezner at the agency and the duo subsequently went into partnership, forming what became Morra Brezner Steinberg and Tenenbaum Entertainment, also known at MBST Entertainment.
The firm was sold in 2005 to CKX and repurchased five years later, leading to its rechristening as Brezner Steinberg Partners.
Brezner is survived by his widow Dominique Cohen-Brezner and his daughters Lauren Azbill and China Brezner and his brother Jeff Brezner. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be sent in Brezner’s name to City of Hope for hematological research.