February 6, 2018
The End of an Era: Larry Auerbach Retires
The USC School of Cinematic Arts is known for its deep and long-standing connections with the entertainment industry. While students today take the connections that land them first jobs and internships for granted, it wasn’t always the case. One of the people who made those connections a reality has announced his retirement after twenty-five years at the School. In 2017, In Motion looks back at the career of Head of Industry Relations, Larry Auerbach.
Larry Auerbach joined SCA after a legendary forty-seven-year career as an agent at the William Morris Agency. While an agent, Auerbach was known as “The Man with the Golden Rolodex” and was a titan in film, television, and music who repped stars as wide-ranging as Elvis (Auerbach secured Elvis’ first television performance), Sam Cooke, and Aretha Franklin.
After leaving WMA, Auerbach was looking at a career in producing but alum Marcia Lucas had a vision of opening an office that would help talented Trojans transition into careers. She donated the funds to open what was known then as Student Industry Relations.
“There was a little story in the paper that I was leaving William Morris, and Dean Elizabeth Daley called me and asked if I would get lunch,” said Auerbach. “I knew USC had a great reputation, but I had no idea I was stepping into a second career. Dean Daley wanted to get the School, and the kids, an agent. That’s what they offered me. That’s what I did. The talent was there. What they needed was someone to pick up the phone.”
Nearly every Trojan who walked through the halls of SCA has been helped by Auerbach at some point during his or her time as a student. Between managing his office, leading talks with titans of the industry, and having impromptu meetings with students, Auerbach was the bridge between young Trojans and the film and television industry. His dedication, knowledge, and no-nonsense mentorship launched countless careers and, along with his staff, it isn’t an overstatement to say he changed the face of film, television, and interactive media.
“For the last 25 years, Larry’s been my partner, my mentor, my coach, my corrections officer, and an incredible friend,” said Daley. “I’m so grateful that Larry came and made a second career at the School of Cinematic Arts. What he’s meant to the School and, most importantly, our students is truly amazing.”
“We did some marvelous things in Industry Relations,” said Auerbach. “We helped every student that came to us who wanted to work and wanted to make something of themselves. Some of them made it big. It was fun. When I first came here, I thought I had bigger plans. I was wrong. It turned out to be paradise. It’s been terrific. I’ve had two jobs in my life and seventy-two consecutive years of work.”
On April 12th, a retirement party was held for Auerbach which was attended by Daley, Mark Burnett Endowed Chair David Weitzner, television agent Alan Berger, alum/producer Jason Berman, alum/studio executive Bob Osher, alum/producer Aaron Kaplan, a video message from head of CAA Bryan Lourd, Larry’s family, students, faculty, staff, and alumni of the School of Cinematic Arts. The evening was emceed by current Head of Industry Relations Bonnie Chi.
While Larry is hanging up his “golden rolodex” after twenty-five years, the Industry Relations office will carry on. And every time someone picks up the phone on behalf of a Trojan looking to make something of themselves, Larry’s legacy will be felt.