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Monday MAY 31

                                        GUEST

                             (Originally aired 01-26-86)

                            LOUIS NIZER ESQ.

                                                            

                   

                                              Attorney

                                Philosopher

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The program can be viewed in its entirety by clicking the you tube link below:

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mPcTGwzKh3c - LOUIS NIZER ESQ.

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More about: LOUIS NIZER

 

Louis Nizer (February 6, 1902 in London - November 10, 1994 in New York City) was a noted Jewish-American trial lawyer and senior partner of the law firm Phillips Nizer Benjamin Krim & Ballon. He represented many celebrities in a variety of cases, among them Quentin Reynolds in his successful libel suit against columnist Westbrook Pegler, and the broadcaster John Henry Faulk against AWARE, a right-wing organization that had falsely labeled him a communist. A graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School, he wrote several books, among them the best-selling "My Life In Court" in 1962, about many of his famous cases, which spent many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He also wrote "The Implosion Conspiracy" in 1972, a study of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg espionage case. He died at the age 92 in New York City, having continued to work at his firm until 10 days before his death. His representation of Reynolds served as the basis for the Broadway play A Case of Libel, which starred Van Heflin. With Jack Valenti, Nizer helped created the motion picture ratings system of the Motion Picture Association of America, which he served as general counsel. After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he authored the foreword to the Warren Commission report that investigated JFK's murder and the conspiracy theories that still surround it. In addition to his legal work, Louis Nizer was an author, artist, lecturer, and advisor to some of the most powerful people in the worlds of politics, business, and entertainment. For a number of years, Nizer was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "highest-paid lawyer in the world". In addition to his success in the legal world, he was married to his wife Mildred for over 50 years. Over his life, Nizer granted significant grants and charity to many Jewish causes. Nizer was portrayed by George C. Scott in the 1975 CBS made-for-television film, Fear on Trial, co-starring William Devane as the blacklisted radio personality John Henry Faulk.

 

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Louis Nizer, Lawyer to the Famous, Dies at 92

 
Correction Appended

Louis Nizer, the shrewd and voluble trial lawyer who made a long career of representing famous people in famous cases and whose autobiography, "My Life in Court," was a best seller, died yesterday at Beth Israel Medical Center in Manhattan. He was 92 and lived in midtown Manhattan.

The cause was kidney failure, said Perry Galler, the managing partner in the New York-based law firm Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon, of which Mr. Nizer was the senior partner.

Mr. Nizer founded the firm with Louis Phillips, and colleagues said yesterday that he remained active, going in to his office almost every day, until 10 days before he died.

Mr. Nizer's wavy hair and near-classic profile adorned countless courthouses, board rooms and corridors of power as he talked his way to fame and fortune. In the course of his work as a trial lawyer, he made himself an authority on contract, copyright, libel, divorce, plagiarism and antitrust law, and on other kinds of law involving the entertainment world.

His roster of celebrity clients included Johnny Carson, Charlie Chaplin, Salvador Dali, Eddie Fisher, Alan Jay Lerner, Mae West, the basketball star Julius Erving and Spyros P. Skouros, once board chairman of 20th Century Fox films.

The tension of the courtroom and the fervor of the advocate pervaded his books, including "My Life in Court" (1962, Buccaneer Books) which made him nationally famous. It rose to the top of The Times's best-seller list and logged 72 weeks as a sales leader. One critic praised it as "entertaining and philosophically instructive, an unusual combination."

The book included stories of court cases that Mr. Nizer had won, including the famous libel action that the writer Quentin Reynolds, with Mr. Nizer as his lawyer, brought successfully against the columnist Westbrook Pegler. The account of that case served as the basis of the 1963 Broadway play "A Case of Libel."

Another of his books was "Implosion Conspiracy" (1972), a study of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg espionage case. Its publication prompted the Rosenbergs' two sons to sue him. Accusations of defamation of character and invasion of privacy were eventually dismissed in 1977 by the United States Court of Appeals in Manhattan. A remaining copyright issue was later settled out of court.

Although Mr. Nizer's courtroom career spanned more than six decades, he once wrote: "The excitement has never diminished. Indeed it has grown. The challenge is ever new. The contest is ever intense. Surprise is ever present."

The challenge took many forms. Sometimes it lay in gaining the exoneration of an individual like John Henry Faulk, the CBS radio and television personality. In 1962, Mr. Nizer won for Mr. Faulk a $3.5 million libel judgment -- later reduced to $550,000 on appeal -- after an ultra-conservative publication had linked Mr. Faulk with a Communist conspiracy. That legal victory was widely credited with breaking the back of blacklisting in broadcasting.

Sometimes the challenge lay in working behind the scenes, advising clients like the Motion Picture Association of America, which Mr. Nizer served as general counsel.

He was born in London on Feb. 6, 1902, and brought to the United States as a child. Early in his life, as the son of the owner of a Brooklyn dry-cleaning establishment, he made his voice and name heard in his noisy new hometown. As a youth, he won a Government citation for his patriotic speeches during Liberty Loan drives in World War I. Fresh out of Columbia College, he twice won the Curtis Oratorical Prize at Columbia Law School, from which he graduated in 1924.

As a fledgling lawyer in 1925, he talked his way into the newspapers when he championed the interests of a group of Brooklyn merchants. It was in 1926 that he and Mr. Phillips set up a law partnership, which grew into the prestigious firm of Phillips, Nizer, Benjamin, Krim & Ballon.

A combination of qualities brought Mr. Nizer his vast success. He was exuberantly competitive: "I enjoy the clash of ideas," he once said. On trans-Atlantic voyages in the 1930's, for lack of other realms to conquer, he passed the time winning shipboard table tennis tournaments.

He strongly identified with his clients' interests. He once wrote what he called "A Lawyer's Prayer," which began: "I would pray, O Lord, never to diminish my passion for a client's cause, for from it springs the flame which leaps across the jury box and sets fire to the conviction of the jurors."

He was a master at preparing and presenting legal arguments. He cut an earnest and authoritative figure, presenting arguments that were not memorized outright, but planned meticulously, during long hours at his office.

Much of what he spoke or wrote was garnished with sweeping declarations that would resound pleasingly in a high-ceilinged courtroom, even if they were actually composed, say, for a modest book review.

"Nowhere is the cupidity and nobility of man better demonstrated than in the judicial arena" was the sort of thing he was apt to say.

Mr. Nizer was also a master at bons mots about people. Presenting Sara Delano Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt's mother, at a banquet, he said: "A beautiful young lady is an act of nature. A beautiful old lady is a work of art. I introduce you to a work of art."

He told many tales of the courtroom. Speaking of his work on divorce cases, he once said: "I remember one occasion when I was cross-examining a lady, who was accused of infidelity, and after close questioning, she broke down and screamed: 'What you say isn't true. I have been faithful to my husband dozens of times."

Mr. Nizer's manifold gifts brought him a staggering variety of clients over the years, ranging from Igor Cassini to Gov. James A. Rhodes of Ohio to Occidental Oil to the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association to 85 percent of the producers and distributors of copyrighted film programs used on television.

Much of his legal work involved the film industry. He was a longtime executive secretary and lawyer for the New York Film Board of Trade, and at one time or another, he was retained by most member companies of the Motion Picture Association of America.

His last decade and a half of work ranged from a high-profile libel case, involving a resort in California, which was settled in the early 1980's, to a price-controls-violation case by the United States Government against a unit of Occidental Petroleum Corporation. Partners of his said yesterday that he won, last year, the his aspect of that case.

Mr. Nizer also continued to act as a mentor to other lawyers in his firm, and he was a regular contributor to journals on trial strategy and other aspects of litigation. Last month's issue of the journal Federal Litigation Guide Reporter has a lead article by Mr. Nizer titled "Finding and Selecting the Right Judge."

Not all of his books were well received. Mr. Nizer's 1966 book "The Jury Returns," about cases in which he had been involved, and his 1978 work, "Reflections Without Mirrors," were unloved by critics.

And his 1992 book, "Catspaw," (Carroll & Graf) was about legal work he did on behalf of a man who was repeatedly tried for a double murder that, Mr. Nizer wrote, he did not commit. A reviewer said he "orates with such abandon that impatient readers may lose sight of his subject."

In his spare time, Mr. Nizer was an enthusiastic golfer and painter for years and was active in a wide variety of community affairs. He was a friend and supporter of Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia and a leader of March of Dimes, United Jewish Appeal, and Federation of Jewish Philanthropies campaigns. The honors he received included a 1957 Yeshiva University award "for honoring the spiritual and cultural heritage of Judaism in America."

His other writings included the books "New Courts of Industry: Self-Regulation Under the Motion Picture Code" (1935, Ozer); "Thinking on Your Feet" (1940), about public speaking; "What to Do With Germany" (1944), and "Between You and Me" (1948), about jury trials and other subjects.

Mr. Nizer married Mildred Mantel Wollins in 1939; she died last year. He is survived by two stepchildren, Tony and Terry Wollins, both of Boca Raton, Fla., and several step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchilden.

Funeral services are to be held at noon on Sunday at Frank E. Campbell the Funeral Chapel, 1076 Madison Avenue, at 81st Street.

The obituary also omitted one publisher of Mr. Nizer's 1992 book, "Catspaw." While the book was republished by Carroll & Graf which still has it in print, the original publisher was Donald I. Fine.

Correction: December 6, 1994, Tuesday An obituary on Nov. 11 about the lawyer Louis Nizer referred incorrectly to the prize he won while a student at Columbia University, and to the timing. The award is is the George William Curtis Prize, given for excellence in the public delivery of English orations, not the Curtis Oratorical Prize. He won it twice as an undergraduate at Columbia, not while he was a law student there.

 

 

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Louis Nizer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
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Louis Nizer (February 6, 1902 in London - November 10, 1994 in New York City) was a noted Jewish-American trial lawyer and senior partner of the law firm Phillips Nizer Benjamin Krim & Ballon. He represented many celebrities in a variety of cases, among them Quentin Reynolds in his successful libel suit against columnist Westbrook Pegler, and the broadcaster John Henry Faulk against AWARE, a right-wing organization that had falsely labeled him a communist.

A graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School, he wrote several books, among them the best-selling "My Life In Court" in 1962, about many of his famous cases, which spent many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He also wrote "The Implosion Conspiracy" in 1972, a study of the Julius and Ethel Rosenberg espionage case. He died at the age 92 in New York City, having continued to work at his firm until 10 days before his death.

His representation of Reynolds served as the basis for the Broadway play A Case of Libel, which starred Van Heflin.

With Jack Valenti, Nizer helped created the motion picture ratings system of the Motion Picture Association of America, which he served as general counsel.

After the assassination of John F. Kennedy, he authored the foreword to the Warren Commission report that investigated JFK's murder and the conspiracy theories that still surround it.

In addition to his legal work, Louis Nizer was an author, artist, lecturer, and advisor to some of the most powerful people in the worlds of politics, business, and entertainment. For a number of years, Nizer was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the "highest-paid lawyer in the world". In addition to his success in the legal world, he was married to his wife Mildred for over 50 years. Over his life, Nizer granted significant grants and charity to many Jewish causes.

[edit] Film, television, and stage portrayals

Nizer was portrayed by George C. Scott in the 1975 CBS made-for-television film, Fear on Trial, co-starring William Devane as the blacklisted radio personality John Henry Faulk.

Both on stage and on television, Van Heflin portrayed Robert Sloane, a fictionalized version of Nizer, in the play A Case of Libel, which dramatized the Quentin Reynolds - Westbrook Pegler trial.

The play was first televised on commercial television, but a new production shown on cable television in the 1980's, and later PBS, starred Edward Asner as Sloane and Daniel J. Travanti as Boyd Bendix, who was based on conservative columnist Westbrook Pegler.

[edit] Works

  • "My Life in Court," 1962
  • "The Jury Returns," 1966
  • "The Implosion Conspiracy," 1972
  • "Reflections Without Mirrors," 1978
  • "Catspaw," (Carroll & Graf 1992)
  • "New Courts of Industry: Self-Regulation Under the Motion Picture Code, with an Analysis of the Code" (1935, Longacre Press)
  • "Thinking on Your Feet" (1940)
  • "What to Do With Germany" (1944, US Army) PDF [1]
  • "Between You and Me" (1948)

[edit] External links

  • Louis Nizer, Lawyer to the Famous, Dies at 92 - By ERIC PACE, Published: Friday, November 11, 1994 NYTimes.com