Bill Robinson, Legendary Manager for Robert Duvall and Carol Burnett, Dead at 92

by Joe Rutland

Bill Robinson, who was a manager to stars like Robert Duvall and Carol Burnett among many others, has died at 92 years old. Deadline reported that his family has said that Robinson died on August 6 at his home in Malibu. He had been in ill health. Other people who Robinson managed throughout a lengthy career included Maggie Smith, Audrey Hepburn, James Garner, Peter Falk, and Waylon Jennings.

In a statement, Burnett said, “I knew Bill for many, many years…since 1959. We met while I was doing the Garry Moore Show. Later on, he became my manager when I was doing my show. But not just my manager. He was one of my closest friends in the world. I loved him very much… and I will miss him.”

Bill Robinson Remembered By Phoenix Pictures Chairman

Mike Medavoy, who is Chairman and CEO of Phoenix Pictures, remembered his first meeting with Robinson. After all, Robinson actually gave Medavoy his first job as an agent in the world of show business. Medavoy is a former Chairman of Tri-Star Pictures.

“‘You’re gonna have a hard time in this business as a Morris,’ Bill Robinson told me when he hired me to be an agent at his agency,” Medavoy would write according to his book You’re Only as Good as Your Next One: 100 Great Films, 100 Good Films, and 100 for Which I Should Be Shot. “‘You got a middle name?’ ‘Mike,’ I told him. I was never crazy about my first name anyway. Besides, I had nothing to do with my naming. ‘Mike…Medavoy,’ he repeated. ‘That works.'” Another star who was under the guidance of Robinson happened to be Jayne Mansfield, who was the mother of Law & Order: SVU star Mariska Hargitay.

Manager Was A Native Of Massachusetts

The legendary manager happened to be born in New Bedford, Mass., back in 1929. The Robinsons would move across the United States to Los Angeles as a 16-year-old. Robinson would become a dress salesman after graduating from high school. He then would join the U.S. Army for a period of time during the Korean War.

He would become an NBC page upon his return home. Robinson would meet actress Ida Lupino and she would put the bug in his ear to become an agent. Robinson got a job in the famed MCA mail room. It was there that Robinson would apprentice under Lew Wasserman. Once he was promoted to a talent agent, Robinson would represent musical acts in the Southwest. It was when he joined Kurt Frings Agency that he would represent Hepburn. Ultimately, Robinson would become an independent manager after spending time at the Ashley-Famous Agency. He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Mandy Robinson, and a daughter, Hannah.