Jack Rollins
Rollins in 1984
Born
Jacob Rabinowitz

(1915-03-23)March 23, 1915
DiedJune 18, 2015(2015-06-18) (aged 100)
Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
OccupationFilm and television producer and talent manager
Years active1952–2015

Jack Rollins (born Jacob Rabinowitz; March 23, 1915 – June 18, 2015) was an American film and television producer and talent manager of comedians and television personalities. His first major success came in the 1950s when he managed actor and singer Harry Belafonte. Rollins co-wrote the song Man Piaba with Belafonte on his 1954 debut RCA Victor album Mark Twain and other Folk Favorites. In 1958 he helped create and promote the comedy duo Nichols and May. He went on to help shepherd the careers of several prominent comedians with his partner Charles H. Joffe, beginning in 1960 with Woody Allen and later with Dick Cavett, Billy Crystal, David Letterman, and Robin Williams.

Rollins' work as a film and television producer was closely tied to the artists that he managed. He was credited as an executive producer on many of the films directed by Woody Allen from 1969 to 2015.[1][2] From 1970 to 1972 he was an executive producer on ABC's The Dick Cavett Show and, from 1982 to 1992, he was an executive producer of the NBC series Late Night with David Letterman. Between the two shows, he was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award ten times.

Life and career

Born Jacob Rabinowitz in Brooklyn, Rollins was the son of Yiddish-speaking immigrants from Russia. In 1933, he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, and in 1937 earned a bachelor's degree from the City College of New York. He spent two years working for an orphanage in Chicago before being drafted into the United States Army during World War II.[3]

Rollins worked as a decoder of communications in India during the war where one of his commanding officers was actor Melvyn Douglas. Rollins assisted Douglas in staging shows at the China–Burma–India theater and developed a friendship with him. After the war, Douglas assisted Rollins in developing the professional contacts he needed to begin working as a producer on Broadway.[3]

Rollins' work as a Broadway producer during the late 1940s and early 1950s proved to be difficult and ultimately unfruitful. He abandoned this pursuit in 1951 when he established a one-man talent agency in Midtown Manhattan. He worked with the then-unknown Harry Belafonte.[4] He later became partners with Charles H. Joffe and they successfully managed the careers of several artists, most of whom were comedians, among them Woody Allen, Dick Cavett, Billy Crystal, Robert Klein, David Letterman, Robin Williams, and the comedy duo Nichols and May. Joffe focused more on Allen, with Rollins focusing on others.[5] He was approached in the early 1960s by legendary comedian Lenny Bruce concerning management and possible representation. According to Rollins' wife, Jane, Rollins declined due to Bruce's personal issues.[3][6]

In his 2005 Cecil B. DeMille Award acceptance speech, Robin Williams referred to Jack Rollins as 'the most ethical man in show business'.

Rollins was producer for The David Letterman Show (1980) and Late Night with David Letterman from its inception in 1982 until 1992.

Rollins was a close friend of jazz pianist Bill Evans, with whom he owned a racehorse named 'Annie Hall'.[7] Rollins died on June 18, 2015.[8][9]

Filmography

Executive Producer

Film

Year Title Notes
1969 Don't Drink the Water Director: Howard Morris
Take the Money and Run Director: Woody Allen
1971 Bananas Director: Woody Allen
1972 Play It Again, Sam Director: Herbert Ross
Everything You Always Wanted to Know
About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask)
Director: Woody Allen
1973 Sleeper Director: Woody Allen
1975 Love and Death Director: Woody Allen
1976 The Front Director: Martin Ritt
1977 Annie Hall Director: Woody Allen
1978 Interiors Director: Woody Allen
1979 Manhattan Director: Woody Allen
1980 Stardust Memories Director: Woody Allen
1982 A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy Director: Woody Allen
1983 Zelig Director: Woody Allen
1984 Broadway Danny Rose Director: Woody Allen
1985 The Purple Rose of Cairo Director: Woody Allen
1986 Hannah and Her Sisters Director: Woody Allen
1987 Radio Days Director: Woody Allen
September Director: Woody Allen
1988 Another Woman Director: Woody Allen
1989 New York Stories Segment: Oedipus Wrecks
Crimes and Misdemeanors Director: Woody Allen
1990 Alice Director: Woody Allen
1991 Shadows and Fog Director: Woody Allen
1992 Husbands and Wives Director: Woody Allen
1993 Manhattan Murder Mystery Director: Woody Allen
1994 Bullets over Broadway Director: Woody Allen
1995 Mighty Aphrodite Director: Woody Allen
1996 Everyone Says I Love You Director: Woody Allen
1997 Deconstructing Harry Director: Woody Allen
1998 Celebrity Director: Woody Allen
1999 Sweet and Lowdown Director: Woody Allen
2000 Small Time Crooks Director: Woody Allen
2001 The Curse of the Jade Scorpion Director: Woody Allen
2002 Hollywood Ending Director: Woody Allen
2003 Anything Else Director: Woody Allen
2004 Melinda and Melinda Director: Woody Allen
2005 Match Point Director: Woody Allen
2006 Scoop Director: Woody Allen
2007 Cassandra's Dream Director: Woody Allen
2008 Vicky Cristina Barcelona Director: Woody Allen
2009 Whatever Works Director: Woody Allen
2010 You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Director: Woody Allen
2011 Midnight in Paris Director: Woody Allen
2012 To Rome with Love Director: Woody Allen
2013 Blue Jasmine Director: Woody Allen
2014 Magic in the Moonlight Director: Woody Allen
2015 Irrational Man Director: Woody Allen

Television

Year Title Notes
1969 The Woody Allen Special Comedy Special
1969-1971 The Dick Cavett Show 8 episodes
1982 The Marx Brothers in a Nutshell Television documentary
1982-1992 Late Night with David Letterman 263 episodes
1986 David Letterman's 2nd Annual Holiday Film Festival Television Special
1988 Late Night with David Letterman: 6th Anniversary Special Television Special
1989 Late Night with David Letterman: 7th Anniversary Special Television Special

As an Actor

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1980 To Woody Allen from Europe with Love Himself Documentary [10]
1980 Stardust Memories Studio Executive
1984 Broadway Danny Rose Jack Rollins
1996 Nichols and Make: Take Two Himself Documentary, PBS
2004 Funny Already: A History of Jewish Comedy Himself TV-Movie documentary
2011 Woody Allen: A Documentary Himself Documentary, PBS

Awards and Nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
1970 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety Series The Dick Cavett Show Nominated [11]
1971 Outstanding Variety Series - Talk Nominated
1981 Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety Series The David Letterman Show Nominated
1984 Primetime Emmy Award Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Program Late Night with David Letterman Nominated
1985 Nominated
1986 Nominated
1987 Nominated
1988 Nominated
Late Night with David Letterman:
The 6th Anniversary Special
Nominated
1989 Late Night with David Letterman Nominated
1990 Nominated
1991 Nominated
1992 Nominated
1994 CableACE Award Best Stand-Up Comedy Special Rick Reynolds: Only the Truth Is Funny Nominated

References

  1. ^ Meade, Marion (December 6, 2010). The Unruly Life of Woody Allen. E-reads/E-rights. pp. 53–. ISBN 978-1-61756-068-2. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  2. ^ Bailey, Peter J. (April 2003). The Reluctant Film Art of Woody Allen. University Press of Kentucky. p. 107. ISBN 978-0-8131-9041-9. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c McFadden, Robert D. (June 18, 2015). "Jack Rollins Dies at 100; Managed Comedy Greats Like Woody Allen". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Gerard, Jeremy (June 19, 2015). "Jack Rollins, Producer Who Made Woody Allen & Robin Williams Laugh, Dies At 100". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved February 22, 2017.
  5. ^ "Charles H. Joffe, 78; top manager of comedic talent co-produced Woody Allen's films". Los Angeles Times. July 12, 2008. Retrieved July 12, 2008.
  6. ^ Coleman, Janet (November 1, 1991). The Compass: the improvisational theatre that revolutionized American comedy. University of Chicago Press. p. 239. ISBN 978-0-226-11345-6. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
  7. ^ Verchomin, Laurie (2010). The Big Love, Life and Death with Bill Evans. ISBN 978-1-4565-6309-7.
  8. ^ Jack Rollins Dies at 100; Produced Comedy Greats Like Woody Allen
  9. ^ Stoliar, Steve (April 6, 2015). "Jack Rollins, Woody Allen's Legendary Manager-Producer, Celebrates 100th Birthday". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved April 7, 2015.
  10. ^ https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0738435/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0
  11. ^ "Jack Rollins - Award". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved April 4, 2020.