Bernard J. “Bernie” Brillstein was an American film and television producer, executive producer and talent agent.
Brillstein was born in Manhattan to Moe and Tillie Brillstein, who all shared the Manhattan home of his uncle, the vaudeville and radio performer Jack Pearl.
Brillstein attended Stuyvesant High School, graduated from New York University, and later served in the military. Brillstein earned his way into show business in the mailroom at the William Morris Agency in New York. He worked his way up to talent agent and by the 1960s he was a manager-producer of television programming for the company. Still associated with WMA, in 1964 he joined Management III to continue talent management. In the 1960’s, he also co-founded the vocal group The Doodletown Pipers.
By now living in Los Angeles, Brillstein formed The Brillstein Company in 1969. There, he continued to manage stars and develop television programming. He produced such popular television hits as Hee Haw, The Muppet Show and Saturday Night Live.