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Irwin Russell, 87; prominent Hollywood lawyer

Mr. Russell’s list of clients included Dr. Seuss.

Tim Shaffer/Reuters/file 2004

Mr. Russell’s list of clients included Dr. Seuss.

LOS ANGELES — A family representative said that prominent entertainment lawyer Irwin Russell, whose clients included such industry heavyweights as Michael Eisner, Jim Henson, and David Wolper, has died.

Mr. Russell, who died of leukemia Friday in Los Angeles at 87, was a key player in the 1984 takeover and subsequent expansion of The Walt Disney Co.

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In a statement, Eisner, former chief executive and chairman of Disney, called Mr. Russell “a brilliant lawyer, an insightful executive,” and praised him for being able to put together a one-page deal, “something unheard of in American business.”

Mr. Russell assembled deals for such television mainstays as “Baywatch,” “Candid Camera,” “Hee Haw,” and the Muppets. Other clients included Dr. Seuss, Robert Preston, Carol Burnett, and Christina Crawford, whom Mr. Russell represented in proceedings against her mother, Joan Crawford.

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