Howard Weitzman, a partner with the Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert law firm who represented top celebrities from Marlon Brando to Michael Jackson over the course of his career, has died at age 81, Variety has confirmed. A statement from the family is expected on Thursday.
One of the most influential power lawyers in the nation, Weitzman represented Jackson during his headline-making battles against child molestation allegations. He also represented the Jackson estate in a lawsuit over HBO’s 2019 documentary “Finding Neverland.” One of Weitzman’s biggest recent triumphs came when an appeals court reversed an unpaid royalties verdict for producer Quincy Jones, reducing the Jackson estate’s liability to around $2.5 million from $9.4 million.
Other clients in recent years included pop star Justin Bieber, movie producer Ivan Reitman and TV king Chuck Lorre.
A graduate of USC Law, Weitzman served from 1995-1998 as exec VP of corporate operations for Universal, where he was responsible for restructuring the corporate part of the business. Weitzman’s appointment raised eyebrows as it coincided with the acquisition of the studio by Seagram Co. in 1995.
Over his long career, Weitzman was lead trial attorney in over 200 civil and criminal jury trials, and represented over 1,000 individuals and companies on matters ranging from intellectual property and entertainment issues to family law and estate issues.
Other court cases involved huge awards in the Hulk Hogan and Erin Andrews invasion of privacy cases.
A-list clients for the litigator, transaction attorney and strategic adviser included every major motion picture studio, talent agencies William Morris Agency, ICM and CAA, and such high-profile names as John DeLorean, Morgan Freeman, Magic Johnson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne and Sean Combs.
More to come