Influential Showbiz Attorney Irwin Russell Dead at 87Posted: August 25, 2013
Originally posted on Variety:
Irwin Russell, the influential entertainment attorney who was a key player in saving the Walt Disney Co. from corporate raiders in 1984, died Friday of complications from leukemia. He was 87.
Russell helped orchestrate the installment of Michael Eisner as CEO of Disney at a time when the failing Mouse House was in danger of being swallowed up by corporate takeover specialists. He helped steer the appointments of Eisner as CEO and Frank Wells as president, which lead to the revitalization of Disney as a formidable conglom and brand name in the global entertainment landscape. Russell served on the Disney board from 1984 to 2001.
As an attorney, Russell’s long list of clients ranged from Carol Burnett to Jim Henson the producers of “Hee Haw,” “Candid Camera” and “Baywatch.” He was known as an innovative thinker who broke ground in dealmaking for clients, such as the use of barter advertising time in the initial syndication deals for “Hee Haw” in the early 1970s.