I’ve had my share of managers, publishers, agents, art reps, publicists, name any number of occupations that service the entertainment industry. I’ve had them all. These people are great if you’re a big star, a troubled star, a former star or someone on their way to stardom who has a very clear and straight path ahead toward a singular goal – I want to be a famous musician or singer, painter, filmmaker, etc. – i.e. your goals are about rising to the top of a definable field, the roadmap to which is tried and true. With rare exception in my career, I can count them on one finger, the typical Hollywood enabler is stumped once it comes to someone like me who throws all that stuff into a mixer and comes out with a kitchen sink blend that aims towards creative freedom rather than a perceptible ‘hit’ target. Though sometimes I slam them out of the park.
Seymour Heller, supreme manager of the stars during Hollywood’s heyday and who passed away in 2001, liked characters. He masterminded Liberace for 37 years for God sakes. Seymour liked you for your spirit and believed the passion to create something different and a little off center was true talent. I met him well into his career, long after his days representing the likes of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Guy Lombardo, Lawrence Welk, Ginger Rogers, Debbie Reynolds, Mel Tormé, the Andrews Sisters, Regis Philbin and a zillion other folks. Enthusiasm leapt out of this guy. It was impossible to be around him and not feel excited to be a part of Hollywood. He never managed me; we were just great friends but he understood me in a way that others of – his ilk rarely had the balls or foresight to do.
I wrote about Shag – what most of us young ‘uns called Seymour to commemorate the way his toupee hugged his head in 1986 for my monthly column in Details magazine. “Some Like It Smog” was a work diary, my ode to creative life in LA. In Oct., 1989, I could think of nothing more creative in LA than The Shagman, Seymour Heller. Here’s the story.