Bert Fields, legendary lawyer to A-list clients, dies at 93

Aug 8, 2022, 4:06 PM | Updated: Aug 9, 2022, 12:19 pm
FILE - Bert Fields, an attorney for Shelly Sterling, the wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald ...

FILE - Bert Fields, an attorney for Shelly Sterling, the wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, talks to reporters as he arrives at a Los Angeles courthouse for a trial over the $2 billion Los Angeles Clippers sale on Tuesday, July 8, 2014, in Los Angeles. Fields, for decades the go-to lawyer for Hollywood A-listers including Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, George Lucas and the Beatles, and a character as colorful as many of his clients, died Sunday, Aug. 7, 2022, at age 93. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bert Fields, for decades the go-to lawyer for Hollywood A-listers including Tom Cruise, Michael Jackson, George Lucas and the Beatles, and a character as colorful as many of his clients, has died at age 93.

Fields died Sunday at his home in Malibu, California, with his wife, art consultant Barbara Guggenheim, at his side, according to an announcement from Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger, the law firm he helped make a Hollywood powerhouse.

Fields had been suffering from long-term neurological effects of COVID-19, firm spokesman Seth Horowitz said.

“Bert Fields was a gentleman; an extraordinary human being,” Cruise, a longtime client, said in a statement. “He had a powerful intellect, a keen wit, and charm that made one enjoy every minute of his company. I loved him dearly and always will.”

Fields was known for his fierce advocacy in the courtroom and his personal flair outside it, with bespoke suits, chauffeured cars and an unmatched set of talents.

“He was extremely witty and charming with all the elegance of a true gentleman,” producer Jerry Bruckheimer said in a statement. “But he also had the determination and grit of a street fighter.”

Law partner and close friend Pierce O’Donnell called Fields “the greatest lawyer of his era” and “truly a Renaissance man: advocate, author, historian, actor, raconteur, recording artist, and a music enthusiast who knew every Cole Porter lyric.”

His cases included a multimillion-dollar judgment for Beatle George Harrison against his former business manager, and a win for Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks Pictures in an attempted injunction against the release of the director’s film “Amistad,” and a successful attempt by Warren Beatty to prevent cuts to a TV showing of his film “Reds.”

Powerful clients meant taking on powerful opposition. Many of Fields’ most famous cases came against the Walt Disney Co. He represented former executive Jeffrey Katzenberg in his heated split from the company, getting him a $250 million settlement. He represented Lucas in his negotiations with Disney parks. And he represented Harvey and Bob Weinstein in their attempt to separate their company, Miramax, from Disney. Fields would negotiate a deal where the brothers got money to start the new Weinstein Co. instead.

“In the entertainment business walking into litigation without Bert Fields is like walking into the Arctic without a jacket,” Harvey Weinstein, now a convicted rapist serving a prison sentence, told the New York Times in 2005.

In the early 2000s, Fields became entangled in the investigation of a private detective he used, Anthony Pellicano, who would later be sentenced to 15 years in prison for illegal wiretapping and other convictions. Fields was questioned by federal investigators, but denied any knowledge of illegal activity and was never charged.

Bertram Fields was born in Los Angeles on March 31, 1929, the son of a retired ballet dancer and an eye surgeon. He graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, and Harvard Law School, and served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War before beginning his work as a lawyer.

He was also a prolific author, with published books on William Shakespeare and King Richard III.

His clients, who often became his close friends, were steadfast in their loyalty to him and effusive in their praise after his death.

“He was a brilliant renaissance man,” Dustin Hoffman said in a statement, “and, yet, he still had time to be an incredible, kind friend.”

Along with Guggenheim, Fields is survived by son James Elder Fields and grandchildren Michael and Annabelle.

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A person walks past an electronic stock board showing Japan's Nikkei 225 index and U.S. doll...
Associated Press

Business sentiments cool as cheap yen, costs weigh on Japan

TOKYO (AP) — Business sentiment among large manufacturers worsened for the third straight quarter, a Bank of Japan survey showed Monday, as the nation grappled with rising costs, the dropping value of the yen and restrictions on economic activity over the coronavirus pandemic. The headline measure for the “tankan,” measuring sentiment among large manufacturers, was […]
18 hours ago
FILE - A boy diagnosed with cholera receives treatment at a cholera center in Anse D'Hainault, Hait...
Associated Press

Haiti reports cholera deaths for first time in 3 years

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s government on Sunday announced that at least eight people have died from cholera, raising concerns about a potentially fast-spreading scenario and reviving memories of an epidemic that killed nearly 10,000 people a decade ago. The cases – the first cholera deaths reported in three years – came in a community […]
18 hours ago
FILE - A boy diagnosed with cholera receives treatment at a cholera center in Anse D'Hainault, Hait...
Associated Press

Haiti reports cholera deaths for first time in 3 years

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s government on Sunday announced that at least eight people have died from cholera, raising concerns about a potentially fast-spreading scenario and reviving memories of an epidemic that killed nearly 10,000 people a decade ago. The cases – the first cholera deaths reported in three years – came in a community […]
18 hours ago
FILE - Fox commentator Terry Bradshaw is sen before the NFC Championship NFL football game between ...
Associated Press

Terry Bradshaw says he’s been treated for 2 kinds of cancer

Hall of Fame quarterback Terry Bradshaw said Sunday he has been treated for two forms of cancer in the past year. Bradshaw said on “Fox NFL Sunday” that he was diagnosed with bladder cancer late last year and was treated at Yale University Medical Center, including surgery. “As of today, I am bladder cancer free,” […]
18 hours ago
Associated Press

Madame Wu, restaurateur to Hollywood’s elite, dies at 106

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Sylvia Wu, whose famed Southern California restaurant drew Hollywood’s biggest stars for four decades, has died at age 106, according to a news report. Madame Wu’s Garden on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica became a dining destination shortly after it opened in 1959, popular for its cuisine and pagoda-style decor featuring […]
18 hours ago
CORRECTS SPELLING OF LAST NAME TO MADLANG INSTEAD OF MADLING - Gabriel Madlang loads sandbags onto ...
Associated Press

Ian is long gone but water keeps rising in central Florida

GENEVA, Fla. (AP) — Residents in central Florida donned fishing waders, boots and bug spray and canoed or kayaked to their homes on streets where floodwaters continued rising Sunday despite it being four days since Hurricane Ian tore through the state. The waters flooded homes and streets that had been passable just a day or […]
18 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Bert Fields, legendary lawyer to A-list clients, dies at 93