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Jay Jacobs, Former Longtime William Morris Music Agent, Dies

| November 20, 2021

Jay Jacobs, a retired music agent who worked with the William Morris Agency for three decades, has died.

“Today we mourn the loss of Jay Jacobs, whose lengthy career as a talent agent was part of a rich and colorful life,” the Motion Picture and Television Fund (MPTF) wrote on Twitter on Friday (Nov. 19).

“We were recently honored to talk to Jay here at MPTF and share his journey, and may he rest in peace,” said MPTF’s tweet, which linked to a profile about Jacobs, who over the years received assistance from the organization. Billboard has reached out to MPTF for further comment.

Jacobs resided at Hersholt Place at the Motion Picture Home after being diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer in early 2021.

“He’s charming and generous, with a distinct self-deprecating sense of humor and stories to tell that could last for days,” said the article about Jacobs on MPTF’s website.

Jacobs, who was born in Philadelphia, began his career in the mail room of the William Morris Agency in New York in 1961. He went on to become an agent and a founding member of the William Morris music department, where he booked acts “from country to jazz to R&B,” says the MPTF profile. He worked with the Beach Boys, Simon & Garfunkel and Diana Ross, to name a few.

He recalled, “It was really thrilling because when I was 21 or 22, I represented the Beach Boys back in the day, getting $7,500 a night. I created the very first percentage date with them where they got about 70% of the gross at the door, and they walked out with $28,000. That was an amazing stepping-stone to getting percentages for the groups instead of flat fees.”

Jacobs, who also worked at ICM for a few years before retirement, is survived by two children.

Today we mourn the loss of Jay Jacobs, whose lengthy career as a talent agent was part of a rich and colorful life. We were recently honored to talk to Jay here at MPTF and share his journey, and may he rest in peace. https://t.co/LAHhPn9IZF pic.twitter.com/Jm08OtSs8J

— MPTF (@MPTF) November 19, 2021

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