LOS ANGELES — Ed Hookstratten, a lawyer and agent whose powerful roster of clients made him a force to be reckoned with in the worlds of sports, entertainment and journalism, died Wednesday at his Beverly Hills home of complications related to congestive heart failure. He was 83.

Known as a kingmaker, Hookstratten had a client list that included Elvis Presley, Johnny Carson, Tom Brokaw, Marcus Allen, Pat Riley and Vin Scully.

He was also general counsel of the Los Angeles Rams, holding tremendous sway over the franchise for several years as well as several other National Football League teams because he represented many top head coaches, including George Allen.

Nicknamed “The Hook,” Hookstratten had a reputation for being a ferocious negotiator who wasn’t shy about raising his voice. For many years he drove a Rolls-Royce with a vanity plate that said “Hook.” He could usually be found at lunch holding court with other power players in the third booth on the right at The Grill in Beverly Hills, which he owned a piece of at one time.

Hookstratten was a hands-on agent and lawyer, and little slipped past his sharp eye. He wouldn’t hesitate to call a TV station to complain about the makeup on one of his clients or hang up on an executive if he didn’t like the offer he was hearing.

“He fought for his clients. When you were dealing with Ed, he could be formidable adversary,” said former NBC President Fred Silverman, who often found himself sitting across from Hookstratten at the negotiating table. “He was just a terrific agent and lawyer.”


Marcus Allen, the Hall of Fame tailback who went on to a sportscasting career, recalled Thursday his close relationship with Hookstratten.

“He was more than an agent, he was really more of a second dad to me,” he said. “Ed was very wise. Certainly the deal was always very important to him; he wanted to get you the best deal. He was very protective of your brand, and he wanted you to live the life that you dreamed about.”

Brokaw said that when he retained Hookstratten to handle a contract negotiation, the reaction from one NBC executive was extreme.

“He literally clutched his chest and said, ‘You hired The Hook? Oh, my God,’ ” Brokaw said.

Hookstratten was also something of an old-school Hollywood fixer for his clients, getting many out of potentially embarrassing jams and making sure the media were none the wiser.

“He got speeding tickets and DUIs fixed for a lot of people,” said Brokaw.


Hookstratten also made sure to know anyone who could be of use to a client down the road. While representing Presley, Hookstratten once had to persuade a Beverly Hills auto dealership to open in the middle of the night so the King could go car shopping.

Edward Gregory Hookstratten was born in Whittier, Calif., on June 12, 1930. He was a star baseball player in high school and received a scholarship to the University of Southern California, where he pitched for legendary coach Rod Dedeaux. Hookstratten, who remained a prominent USC booster throughout his life, played a key role in raising the funds to build Dedeaux Field.

After receiving his degree from Southwestern School of Law, Hookstratten cut his teeth for Raoul Magana, a prominent personal injury attorney.

It was there that Hookstratten got his first taste of show business when he took care of a traffic ticket for Peggy Lee. Soon afterward, he set up shop as an entertainment lawyer and agent.

“I don’t think there will ever be anyone like that again, the one operator who can pick up the phone and get anyone he wants to,” Brokaw said.

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