“For decades he was the chief justice of the film industry — fair, tough-minded, and innovative. I feel that all of us have lost our benevolent godfather.”
Steven Spielberg quoted in the LA Times after the death of Lew Wasserman
When Lew Wasserman died in 2002 he was considered the last of Hollywood’s moguls. Variety said he was “Hollywood’s ultimate mover and shaker.” He was head of Universal Studios when Jaws and and E.T. became the highest grossing pictures ever.
“One of the great lessons I learned from [my grandfather Lew Wasserman] was that the more successful you are the more problems you deal with. And the more challenges you have, and the bigger company you have, and the bigger business—just stuff goes wrong. The key measure to success is how well you deal with the bad news, and the problems, not how well you embrace the good news. Inherently, the more successful people have organizations better at anticipating, communicating, learning from, growing from, and dealing with and surviving problems. He was a big believer in that. He used to always say, ‘bad news gets worse, so you better just deal with it.’ And if you think about it it’s true, I get paid to deal with problems. Good news takes care of itself. And if you think about human nature—whether if it’s with your kids, or your partner, or at work, most people’s knee-jerk reaction is to stick their head in the sand and hope that bad news goes away, and the truth is, it doesn’t.”
Casey Wasserman, Chairman and CEO of Wasserman
Rich Roll Podcast interview
P.S. Casey Wasserman is also heading the committee trying to bring the Olympic games to Los Angeles in 2024. He was 10 years old when the Olympics were last in L.A. and said it was a magical time. It was. I graduated from film school in L.A. in 1984 and remember that era fondly. That’s also the year I met my wife in an elevator in Burbank.