June 25, 2003 by

Mort Viner


Categories: Hollywood

Mort Viner, a prominent Hollywood agent, died Sunday of a heart attack. He was 72.

Viner spent more than five decades representing Hollywood’s elite. He started out with MCA, moved to Chasin, Park Citron and finally ended his career with ICM, where he worked for 30 years.

“When I arrived in Los Angeles for the first time, Mort was the person that was there to meet me. He drove me up to the Hollywood sign and we had a long talk about our dreams for the future. From that day forward he was always there for me and so many other Hollywood talents like Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra and Michael Crawford. He was there through the laughter and through the tears, always watching out for us,” said actress Shirley MacLaine.

38 Responses to Mort Viner

  1. Carolyn Levine

    Dear Mort: Hope Shirley is right — that we will all meet in the hereafter, because I simply couldn’t do without you forever. Is very hard not knowing if anyone loved you as deeply as I. In the deepest sense, you were so alone most of the time. Knowing you as I did, can’t imagine you let many people “in close,” where you really lived, in your heart of hearts. On the one hand, that is sad. On the other hand, it enabled you to say, “that’s not my problem,” with conviction, instantly repelling others’ baggage, which, in turn, allowed you plenty of space to pick and choose the few people you really cared about, and hold them close. Till we meet again, my funny valentine.

  2. Mitzie

    There will never be another like you. You are missed more than you would believe. You touched so many lives, certainly did mine. How fortunate I am to have had you as my very special friend for over 20 years. I’m sure you have a phone with you in heaven and I’m working on getting your number because I miss talking to you so much.

  3. A longtime friend

    I missed you over Thanksgiving, the first of many holidays to come without you. I will miss bringing you a silly little something at Christmastime. I hope you know how very much I miss you.

  4. alexandra

    I just returned from a long stay in Paris. I tried to call you and just found out you’re no longer with us. I’m in shock. You were a wonderful wonderful and caring man, straight talking and wise. I hope you’ll meet my father in heaven, he’s also a great storyteller like you. Mort, you’ll be greatly missed but never forgotten.
    Alexandra R.

  5. J'eral Fontaine

    How can one put in to words the incredible emptiness that is felt by knowing they can never again throw their arms around the big “papa bear” for hugs, get the best stock advice in the world, watch boxing matches while hearing great anecdotes, run next door to Hamburger Hamlet with you in house slippers, God Mort…I can’t believe you’re gone. The sweetest man and most wonderful friend. I will miss you for forever…you were too young and we still needed you here. OXOXO

  6. Me

    I am thinking of you so much this week knowing, sadly, that I won’t be able to bring you a Happy Birthday cupcake as I did for so many years past. My world is forever changed without you in it. I will say a toast for you on what would have been your 73rd. You will always be remembered with love.

  7. sylvie vine

    to all Mort Viner fans/ friends out there,
    watch for our upcoming indie film in which he has a cameo interview, “Sylvia’s Baklava.” Mort was a great inspiration & friend. Thanks for being you, Mort.
    Sylvie Vine

  8. Mitzie

    You are uppermost in my thoughts today, a year after you left this life. I still miss you so much and know I always will. I hope you are somewhere serving lots of aces.
    Love from me

  9. Kendra

    Went to give you the yearly call so we could meet for coffee at the hamlet. How shocking to find you’d gone on. I always thought I’d hear more of your great stories and listen to you laugh about the latest gag in your life. You were a great inspiration who gave warmth and hope to those you knew. Thanks for everything. You will be missed.

  10. Graham

    Mr. Viner, you were kind enough to let me spend some time with Dino, when you were both in London in 1987. For that, I can never thank you enough. Sincere wishes, Graham.

  11. Julie

    Hello everyone!
    I am writing a paper on Mort for my talent management class, and was hoping that someone could give me some information on this fantastic man. There is a very short supply of information on this fasinating human being on the internet. So if anyone could send me some information that would be fabulous. cqdell@yahoo.com

  12. lornie kuhle

    mort…it’s coming up on 3 years since you’ve been gone. still miss you…and so does the rest of us at wanda park….

  13. Camille Avvento

    Hey Mort greetings from BROOKLYN,
    I didn’t know till right now that you were Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra’s agent. As an Italian American from Brooklyn they were more than just idols for our family, they were family. You grow up as a baby listening to them from their music lullabying you to sleep, making sure the band at your wedding knows every song they made till the day you die and it’s being played after you are buried and your family and friends have a banquet in your honor with Dean and Frank’s music being played. From these postings on this website and from the people who knew you they all say you were fantastic, well you had to have been because now I know who the driving force was behind the greatness of our beloved Dean and Frank. I also now found out that you were Michael Crawford’s agent which explains the greatness behind him. There’s a strange coincidence here that you were these three artists’ agent. So being you’re together now with Dean and Frank do me a favor and the three of you say a special prayer for me. I would appreciate it and I’ll let you know how things turned out. With you being up there and us being down here you’re in tight with the biggest producer of all “GOD” he’ll listen to your prayers quicker than ours. Thanks
    Camille from Brooklyn

  14. Susanne

    How can three years have passed? I miss speaking to you daily and really miss hearing, “This is Mort!” From the day we first met in 1980 until the day you passed, you were one of the most supportive, compassionate and caring person that I had ever known. You had a way of simplifying everything. How lucky I was to have known you, been loved by you, respected by you and to have had so many wonderful times together. Your legacy will live on forever.
    You were truly one of the good guys.

  15. Bill Smith

    Hey Big Mort, I’m writing this on March 30, 2008 from Boston. I was your assistant at ICM in 1997 when I was living out in LA. I am watching your former client, (Shirley) on Larry King Live right now, and you suddenly popped in my mind. Now I find out you’ve passed on to the next world. You were a tough guy to work for and you used to bust my chops quite a bit. God knows I used to drop a lot of calls and it would drive you nuts! I was an up and coming agent wannabe! I eventually became a Manager in 2000 and got burned out on the business and the town in 2003. I presently work as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor in Boston. Overall, I think I used to put a smile on your face the six months I worked for you. When you weren’t getting me nervous, I was proud to be working for such an industry great and would love when you would let me listen to your phone calls! I didn’t like making your salads in the ICM lunchroom and my fellow ambitious peers would tease me in good fun. You gave me money everyday to buy you a Cobb Salad, in which I had to put in a plastic bag and shake up! Of course, you always followed the salad with a brownie!See you on the other side someday Mort. Thanks for a great experience. Best, Bill Smith

  16. Mitzie

    I can’t believe Mort has been gone 5 years. I don’t think a week has gone by that I haven’t thought of him. So often I wish I could have picked up the phone to call him. I miss our visits and our take out dinners and time in front of that big TV of his. And his stories, how I miss his telling of those. He was my rock and there will never be another like him. I can still see him so clearly wearing that “George V Poland” outfit of his. It’s hard to think he’s not still doing his thing wherever he is now – negotiating, making deals, having his Sunday tennis match, solving people’s problems – I miss him so.

  17. Samantha Morice

    Mort if it wasn’t for you I would never have been Deans lady…You made sure when Dean was in Vegas, I had everything. Always so thoughtful and kind…….You made me laugh when times got tough with all the cameras and noisy people…You will be loved and missed………..Say hello to Mack for me.

    • Nina Craig

      Wow! I know you (Samantha Morice) shared this amazing story over 8 years to go!

      I do not think it would be appropriate of me to ask anything personal/private because that is none of my business. But I am a Dean Martin fan and love learning things about him. I do not think enough people really understand/know the real story of who Dean was. I find him fascinating. You gotten the golden opportunity for what many of us didn’t get to do and is get to know him and met him.

      If you don’t mind me asking, without asking too much. What era were you “Dean’s Lady”? During the late 1950’s, Rat Pack era (early 1960’s), 1970’s (once he was in middle of divorce from Jeanne/Cathy), or during the last decade of his life?

      Also, were you a blonde or one of his exotic ladies?

      That’s all I want to know!

  18. lornie

    mort…it’s been a year since i last typed something …nothing has changed…still miss you and george..time doesn’t heal it…see you one of these days…lornie

  19. A.O.

    Dear Mort,

    It’s 2012 and almost 9 years to the date you left. Our brief conversations were a world of education and your compassion and willingness to give a young guy a try were tremendous. I was 21 in 2003 and about a year before your passing managed to get your phone number and called you up religiously until after hearing “Leaving me alone, I am retired and play tennis” you finally said “OK, kid, I’ll talk to you”. Thanks for being you. You are now – and always have been amidst the stars – the true place for the sun that shone as bright as you.

  20. lornie

    mort…still remember the good times…..the clock is relentless…..if anyone out there reads this…drop me an email…always love to think about mort and the good times….lornie

  21. J'eral Fontaine

    I can’t believe it’s been 10 years and I, too, think of Mort so often…great man, and wish I could reach out to him in any form. We miss you so much Mort and would give anything to have you back again for an hour, a day…

    Lornie, we met in Del Mar with Mort and Kirk for dinner. Please feel free to email me. I would so very much love to trade stories. That keeps him alive in my mind, and I’ll take that.

    • lornie kuhle

      hello, I just read your posting on more. It would be fun to communicate and talk about more it sometime My number is 702 737 6520. And that goes for anyone out there that would like give me a call and discuss old times with mort

      can’t believe mark would be 84 years old today. think about him often

        • stephanie

          Hey Lornie this is an old friend of Mort’s. I live in Hawaii now. I think of him all of the time and especially on February 5th. I was missing Mort and found this crazy website on line. My heart dropped when I saw a photo of him. He looks so gorgeous. Wow. Anyway It took me a while but I remember you now. You played tennis. I met you many times at Kirk’s and LV as well.

  22. Fran

    Dearest Mort: I never knew who you really were. You let me get close to you, but held back a piece that I could have used for us. It would have helped me understand everything. You were not stupid, but you certainly were with me. I never understood certain things that happened. My piece in the puzzle was my
    not speaking up. I hid my hurt. It was the wrong time for us. That doesn’t mean I don’t think of you and sooner or later the answer is always revealed. Oh I only wish.

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