Sheldon Mittleman, who served as house counsel of MCA Inc. and Universal Studios for more than 20 years, died of natural causes Sunday night in Los Angeles. He was 89.
The news was announced by a family spokesperson.
Mittleman was appointed house counsel at MCA Inc. and Universal Studios in the early ’70s, working alongside talent agent Lew Wasserman and MCA/Universal president and COO Sid Sheinberg. He helped the Wasserman-Sheinberg duo guide the company through the mid-’90s. When Seagram Co. acquired MCA/Universal in 1995, Mittleman transferred to the business and legal affairs group at Universal Television. He worked at MCA Inc. and Universal Studios until his retirement in the late ’90s, but eventually took over as head of business and legal affairs at Steven Bocho Productions.
Mittleman was born on Aug. 31, 1932, in Chicago. He graduated from UCLA in 1953 with a bachelor of arts degree, and later earned his law degree from the university in 1958. Between 1954 and 1956, he served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Airforce with the JAG Corps.
Prior to MCA Inc. and Universal Studios, Mittleman worked at Screen Gems during the beginning of his legal career. A highly-respected attorney, he represented MCA/Universal in the Motion Picture Association (MPA) negotiations with various guilds. During his retirement, he was still called upon to be a consultant or expert witness due to his expansive knowledge of the history of guild agreements.
Mittleman is survived by his son David (and his wife, Lisa), daughter Susan (and her husband, John Moredock) and his grandchildren Andrew and Lauren.