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Ed Hookstratten, attorney for Hollywood and sports stars, dies at 83

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Ed Hookstratten, an attorney who represented a galaxy of entertainment and sports stars including Johnny Carson and Vin Scully during a career of more than 50 years, has died at 83.

He passed away Wednesday of complications from congestive heart failure at his home in Beverly Hills, his son Jon Hookstratten said Thursday.

Hookstratten was a powerful and iconic force in sports, entertainment and broadcast news while representing Carson, Elvis Presley, Dan Rowan and Dick Martin of "Laugh-In" fame.

His news clients included Tom Brokaw, Bryant Gumbel, Jessica Savitch, and Tom Snyder.

"The Hook was a one-man force in the agency business, the last of the great and effective lone operators who knew everyone on both sides of the table," Brokaw said in a statement. "I remember the first time I hired him. I was up for a big job at NBC, and when I told the executive in charge Ed would represent me, he clutched his heart and said, 'Oh, god, the Hook!' I knew then I was in good hands."

Among his sportscaster clients were Scully, Dick Enberg, Merlin Olsen, Dick Stockton, Don Meredith, current Miami Heat President Pat Riley, Marcus Allen, and current University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden. He served for several years as general counsel for the NFL's Los Angeles Rams.

"Ed Hookstratten was a brilliant lawyer, my representative and one of my dearest friends in all the world," Scully said in a statement. "He introduced me to my wife Sandi, was our best man at the wedding and was there for me during my darkest hours. My heart goes out to his family with deepest sympathy."

Nicknamed "The Hook," Hookstratten negotiated Gumbel's move from NBC in 1997 to CBS with a contract that paid the former "Today" show host nearly $5 million a year.

Hookstratten had a reputation for getting his star clients innovative, lucrative and unprecedented deals.

"My father was a larger than life personality in a town that specializes in them," Jon Hookstratten said. "He was obsessed with taking care of his clients who became a part of his family."

Hookstratten is mentioned in movie producer Robert Evans' book "The Kid Stays In the Picture," and in "Those Guys Have All The Fun," a book about the origin of ESPN. Hookstratten was also the namesake of the "Lt. Bob Hookstratten" character in Rob Reiner's rock music mockumentary "This Is Spinal Tap."

Born Edward Gregory Hookstratten on June 12, 1930, in Whittier, Calif., he earned a business degree from the University of Southern California, where he attended on a baseball scholarship, and earned a degree from Southwestern School of Law in 1957.

Hookstratten is survived by his wife, Aimee; his former wife, actress Patricia Crowley Friendly; his brother, Jim; son Jon; and daughters Ann Osher, Eve Hookstratten and Mae Hookstratten; and five grandchildren.

Memorial arrangements were pending.

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