Bruce Merrin’s Celebrity Speakers & Entertainment Celebrates 40th Anniversary!
Bruce Merrin’s Celebrity Speakers & Entertainment, www.celebrityspeakersentertainment.com, is celebrating its 40 year anniversary this week. The company was born when Bruce took his client, legendary actor Michael Landon, to Johnny Carson’s “The Tonight Show” at NBC in Burbank. After Michael’s appearance, Johnny Carson came to Landon’s dressing room and invited Michael Landon and Bruce to his Malibu home.
While enjoying dinner at Johnny Carson’s luxurious home on the beach, Carson suggested that Bruce begin a Celebrity Speakers Bureau. “I’ll be your first client,” quipped Carson. “I’ll be your second client,” added Landon. Thus, Bruce Launched his famous company that evening. The next day he added Ed McMahon, co-host of the Carson Show, and Freddie deCordova, the Executive Producer as new clients!
“It has been a dream come true to book so many people whom I have admired and respected. We have booked every Past President of the United States since President Ronald Reagan, most of the sports superstars, all of the famous astronauts, top newsmakers and best selling authors and motivational and inspirational speakers. The first sports star I booked was Jackie Robinson. That was an honor and privilege,” Merrin states.
Recently Merrin booked actor William Shatner for a major insurance association at the Dolphin Court Resort in Orlando; Dr Wayne Dyer for a large corporation in Palm Beach, Fl.; Steve Garvey, Mike Ditka and Jamaal Silk Wilkes for a Las Vegas convention event; and Cheryl Landon for a medical group in California.
“My favorite booking in Nevada was for the City of Mesquite. They wanted to stage an all day event that would attract worldwide attention. I booked President Gerald Ford, Bruce Jenner, Cheryl Landon, F-16 Pilot Scott O’Grady and Rich Little. I received a glowing letter stating that this extravaganza put Mesquite on the map!!!! I was so impressed with President Ford. After he concluded his presentation, secret service staff rushed to the stage to whisk him away. Many people in the audience were asking President Ford questions. So he brushed the secret service off, and stayed for a full hour answering all of the questions. What a class act,” Merrin comments.
The most embarrassing booking in the company’s 40 year history occurred with one of the original 7 astronauts. He was booked to address a worldwide gathering of McDonnel Douglas Aircraft top executives at their annual meeting. The astronaut was seated with the President and the Vice President, and the Chairman of the Board introduced the astronaut. As he approached the podium, the audience noticed his wobbly walk. In less than 60 seconds, when the astronaut began his speech, he was asked to leave!!!!
Merrin attended UCLA and graduated from the famous Film School. During that time, the UCLA Bruins were winning NCAA Basketball Championships guided by Coach John Wooden. He led UCLA to a record 10 NCAA titles. Coach Wooden preached his “Pryamid of Success” to his players.
Merrin booked Coach Wooden for over 100 paid speaking engagements, and Merrin shares that Wooden truly impacted his life with his wisdom and his humble attitude. Merrin has a photo of him with Coach Wooden hanging proudly on a wall in his office, accompanied by a hand written letter on John Wooden stationery with thesewords: “Dear Bruce, Although it is a very simple word and if often used without true feeling, when it is used with sincerity, no collection of words can be more expressive or meaningful than—-THANKS!!!! Sincerely, John Wooden.
Merrin has had the pleasure to book LASSIE for paid appearances. Merrin’s family had many collies when he was growing up as a kid! On one booking, LASSIE had to fly with Bruce to San Francisco on American Airliines. Lassie satNext to Merrin on First Class, and you can imagine the startled look on the passengers as they boarded the plane. Merrin also cherishes a photo of him with Lassie taken at the famous Lassie Ranch in California with trainer Rudd Weatherwax.
During Merrin’s first year, he booked Michael Landon, Johnny Carson, Ed McMahon and Freddie deCordova for a spectacular event staged at Calamigos Ranch in Malibu for Free Arts for Abused Children. “It touched my heart that I was blessed to work with superstars who believed in me at such a young age!!!” Merrin says.
Merrin has been a Las Vegas resident for 23 years. He lives in The Lakes. He is the President of the Stirling Club Business Network Group. He has also served as a Captain of 3 different Nevada State Championship tennis teams.
Bruce Merrin’s Celebrity Speakers specializes in booking its clients for corporate and association events worldwide. www.celebrityspeakersentertainment.com