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TV agent Richard Leibner has died at the age of 85

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TV agent Richard Leibner has died at the age of 85

Richard Leibner, a celebrated talent agent who represented some of the best-known anchors in TV news, first at a company he helped build and then for UTA, died Tuesday after a battle with cancer. He was 85 years old.

During his time, Leibner served as an agent and advisor to Dan Rather, Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley, Morley Safer, Bob Simon, Steve Kroft, Bill Whitaker, Diane Sawyer, Chuck Scarborough, Paula Zahn, Brian Stelter and Fareed Zakaria, among others. . He was a passionate advocate for clients and was never shy about sharing his opinion on the latest developments in the ever-changing news industry.

Leibner firmly believed that top news anchors should be treated the same as Hollywood royalty. “Decades ago, he made it his personal mission to ensure that major news stars should be treated and compensated like traditional film and television stars,” Jay Sures, vice chairman of UTA, said in a memo to staff on Tuesday.

Leibner helped position Dan Rather as Walter Cronkite’s replacement at CBS News, and was the business force behind many of the most memorable correspondents at “60 Minutes.” He helped Sawyer plan her move to ABC News, and Zahn when she left Fox News Channel for CNN. He helped launch CNN, MSNBC, Fox News and CNBC and was also instrumental in the development of daytime television.

Leibner began his career in 1963 with a master’s degree in taxation from NYU, a BS in Accounting from the University of Rochester and a CPA license. After working for his family’s accounting firm for a few years, he co-founded NS Bienstock with his former partner Nate Bienstock, and together they built the premier agency in news and broadcast talent representation. UTA purchased Bienstock in 2014. Leibner retired in 2021.

He is survived by his wife, Carole Cooper, another longtime agent known for her representation of newscasters, two sons, Adam and Jonathan, and four grandchildren. Cooper and Adam Leibner continue to work at UTA, and were also at Bienstock.

The funeral service will be announced at a later date.