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Showbiz Attorney Ed Hookstratten Dead at 83

Tenacious rep was known for crafting lucrative deals for clients including Johnny Carson, Tom Brokaw, Bryant Gumbel

Edward Hookstratten, a colorful attorney for sports, news and entertainment figures ranging from Johnny Carson to Tom Brokaw to Vin Scully, died Wednesday at his home in Beverly Hills. He was 83.

Hookstratten was known as a tenacious lawyer who had a knack for crafting innovative and lucrative deals for clients. He was often referred to by the nickname “the Hook.”

“My father was a larger than life personality in a town that specializes in them.  He was obsessed with taking care of his clients who became a part of his family,” said his son Jon Hookstratten, who is exec VP of network distribution for Fox.

Hookstratten’s long list of clients over the years included Elvis Presley, Dan Rowan and Dick Martin, Joey Bishop,  Bryant Gumbel, Tom Snyder, Jessica Savitch, Dick Enberg, Merlin Olsen and Pat Reilly. He also repped a number of pro basketball and football coaches, and served for several years as general counsel for the Los Angeles Rams.

Brokaw called his longtime rep “a one-man force in the agency business, the last of the great and effective lone operators who knew everyone on both sides of the table….We didn’t always agree on career choices but in the end he would say, ‘It’s your life. You tell me what you want.’ “

His prominence in showbiz circles helped inspire the character name Lt. Bob Hookstratten in director Rob Reiner’s “This Is Spinal Tap.”

A native of Whittier, Calif., Hookstratten attended USC on a baseball scholarship and earned his law degree from Southwestern School of Law in 1957.

In addition to son Jon, Hookstratten is survived by his wife, Aimee, former wife, Pat Crowley Friendly; a brother; three daughters; and five grandchildren.

The family requests that donations be made in Hookstratten’s memory to the baseball department of USC Athletics, c/o Jill Dennis, 3501 Watt Way, Los Angeles, CA 90089-0602.

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