The Contour of Luxury™ Winter 2022 Publisher's Haute Holiday Gift Ideas | Page 134

Murray Schwartz , exceptional rise to become President and CEO of Merv Griffin Enterprises began with a humble yet priceless start !

Murray ’ s Dad managed the Red Mill burlesque nightclub , in the Bronx , New York . When helping his Dad after school , he became enamored with excitement and glamour of entertainment . He got to know , Moe Gold , the quintessential talent agent ; cigar , pin stripped suits , expensive ties , always flashing a wad of cash . Moe told him to try for a job at the William Morris Agency ; at the time it was the Rolls Royce talent agency in the entertainment industry-known only as the Morris Office .
So , at age 17 , Murray took Moe ’ s advice and applied for a job in the legendary mailroom , where other young men began their careers . David Geffen , Ron Meyer , Irwin Winkler , Bernie Brillstein , Jerry Weintraub , to name just a few . Books would be written about “ The boys in the mailroom ”. Abe Lastfogel the brains with street smarts , even started in the mailroom on the lower east side of New York , back in the days when William Morris Sr . was the boss .
Murray was eager to move on from delivering the mail . Through a combination of luck , pluck , and timing , he was asked by the legendary George Wood to be his assistant . Wood was agent to Frank Sinatra , Sammy Davis , Jr . Tallulah Bankhead , among others . It was George Wood who led Murray on his path in the world of show business . George Wood had close ties to the famous , the infamous , the great and not so great . Working for George , Murray learned about deal making , loyalty , honesty and the importance of relationships . Much more than was taught in the Harvard School of Business .
George Wood promoted Murray to an agent in the Television Department . Murray brought Bill Cosby , Barbra Streisand , Gloria Loring , David Soul , Mario Puzo , as clients to the Morris Office . All while they were still honing their art . ​ Murray first met Merv Griffin when he was booking guest hosts for the Tonight Show , awaiting Johnny Carson to fulfill a previous commitment . With Murray ’ s help , Merv was a great success on the Tonight Show that resulted in getting his first daytime talk show . Schwartz brought him to the Morris Office as a client . Merv ’ s career began to soar with Murray as his agent . Merv moved his show from New York to California to give it a fresh look like no other talk shows emanating from Hollywood .
One eventful day , Merv asked Murray if he ’ d consider moving to California to create a new Company . Murray accepted the towering challenge that began , in a cramped walk up office on Beverly Boulevard . It became an extraordinarily successful Corporation : Merv Griffin Enterprises .