When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead | Jerry Weintraub

Summary of: When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man
By: Jerry Weintraub


Immerse yourself in the fascinating life and career of Jerry Weintraub, a multifaceted man who made a lasting impact in the entertainment industry. In ‘When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man’, Weintraub divulges the twists and turns of his remarkable journey, spanning his humble beginnings in the Bronx to creating successful ventures in concert promotion, talent management, and film production. Discover Weintraub’s key business and life lessons, such as the importance of mentorship, embracing spontaneity, and nurturing talent. This engaging summary will provide valuable insights into the world of show business and the exceptional qualities that underlie a persuasive and memorable individual.

The Power of Promotion

In “When I Stop Talking, You’ll Know I’m Dead,” the story of Jerry Weintraub’s life teaches us a lesson on the value of promotion. Growing up in the Bronx, Jerry’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to make money setting up tours in Alaska for his fellow servicemen. After his enlistment, his father offered him a position in his jewel-selling business, but Jerry declined and began his own course. His father’s lesson on the power of packaging and promoting content stayed with him and influenced his various careers. Weintraub understood that promotion and presentation were often more important than the content itself.

“Lessons Learned in the Playhouse”

Talent manager Jerry Weintraub shares insightful lessons from his non-conventional education at The Neighborhood Playhouse School. Through his classes in method-acting, Weintraub discovered the universality of creative insecurity, highlighting the need for managers to provide a comfortable space for their clients. Despite being called a “klutz” by the renowned Martha Graham, Weintraub eventually produced a show for her company, earning the title of “impressario,” but humbly referred to himself as “her klutz.” Weintraub’s experiences offer a unique perspective on talent management and the importance of cultivating a supportive environment for creative individuals.

The Rise of Weintraub

After bluffing his way into a junior agent job at MCA, Jerry Weintraub left to start his own firm, Directional Enterprises, against Lew Wasserman’s advice. He married his high school sweetheart and began managing Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Weintraub faced a brutal confrontation with mobsters who tried to extort money from him while producing a show in Brooklyn. His father helped him set up a meeting with major Mafia figures who made him promise not to do anything illegal. Years later, Weintraub was going to invest in a theatre but learned from the same Mafia figure that the mob had a hand in it. Weintraub refused to invest, and those who did ran into trouble. He also managed Kimo Lee, who bequeathed him the rights to “Blue Hawaii.” The song later became a hit for Elvis Presley. Living by his script, Weintraub achieved success with a unique approach to managing careers.

A Love Story in Hollywood

Jane Morgan, a beautiful actress fell in love with her manager, Weintraub. He left his wife and married Jane. Together, they adopted three daughters and worked for adoption charities for two decades. During their trip to Kennebunkport, they met George H. W. Bush, who became Weintraub’s lifelong friend. Weintraub spent many nights at the White House, joined exclusive clubs and attended state dinners. Although they have separated, Jane accepted Weintraub’s new relationship and remains married to him. Her priority is to maintain their family and live a quiet life.

Jerry Weintraub’s Persistence Pays Off

Jerry Weintraub’s perseverance paid off when he secured a deal with Elvis Presley’s manager, Col. Tom Parker, to promote Elvis’ concerts. Weintraub contacted Parker every day for more than half a year, and when he finally agreed to meet, he demanded a certified check for $1 million. With no contract, they were in business, and Weintraub learned about promotion from the Colonel. Though polite, Presley made all the artistic decisions, and Weintraub learned to let artists do as they think best and earn them enough money so they could. In 1977, when Elvis died, Weintraub realized that segregation didn’t exist in show business and that the biggest artists would cross all racial divides. Presley epitomized this new order- and like him, Weintraub saw there was more to show business than fame and fortune.

Do It Your Way

Frank Sinatra’s philosophy of doing things his way was demonstrated in his partnership with Weintraub. When they met, Sinatra promised Weintraub to never disappoint him and vice versa. This promise eventually led to a successful live national TV show, which was presented from a boxing ring in Madison Square Garden. The performance had a few hiccups, but Sinatra remained unfazed. Sinatra’s ability to live in the moment and let things happen helped Weintraub to appreciate the beauty of spontaneity.

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