MICHAEL HAMILBURG, LAST OF THE TRULY GREAT LITERARY AGENTS

My first blog of the new year and it’s one I wish I really didn’t have to write. I’m forcing myself as I told myself I would write this, no matter what. Okay, deep breath…..here we go.
My literary agent of more than 15 years, the man responsible for Lee Marvin Point Blank getting published, Mr. Mike Hamilburg, passed away on New Year’s Day after falling into a coma on December 22nd. His wife Susan, and two grown daughters were by his side.
I had heard it about a few days later from one of his associates. I had left for Santa Cruz for the holidays but before leaving, I left a message for Mike to give me a call, hoping he’d call back before I left. We got back about ten days later, I checked my messages and it turns out he called me an hour after I called him. I called him back and eventually heard the news about the coma.
He had been in declining health (what with being in his 80s and suffering from Parkinson’s), but he called to make sure I recieved an e-mail he had sent me over the weekend. I got it after he was hospitalized. It had to do with a project we were working on and it said, in part:
“Hi Dwayne,
Had a great weekend…hope you did too.
As I recall….I think the general presentation…was excellent and a bright cable format. We will probably use this as a continuing series pitch together with your ideas to give it a series’ spin.  So let’s put this one together with the needed material and registration over lunch and I’ll take it from there… Talk to you and see you soon,
Mike”
I’ve included it here to point out something. This was so very typical of Mike. Succinct, to the point, upbeat, and full of energy and high spirits for the future, despite his physical condition. I once asked him why he didn’t retire and he told me that work is what keeps him alive. Clearly he was right. He loved what he did. I loved him like a second father for what he did!
I was planning to write more here, about how we met, what he did for me and others, as well as some other anecdotal tales, but I’m just not up to it at present. Maybe in the near future when the clouds clear in my head and in my heart.
For now, suffice to say I was beyond lucky to have Mike in my corner as he was the rarest of things in this day and age. He was the last of the old-time unsung literary agents who stood by their word and their accomplishments. We never had a contract. He didn’t want one. He always said his word and handshake was his contract and he meant it. He was an over used word but one that aptly applies to him and not the countless others it’s been used to describe. It is the highest compliment to be paid someone of our faith. He was a good human being. In other words, He was a true mensch. Peace, amen and farewell, Mike. We shall never see your likes again.
– Dwayne Epstein

Mike Hamilburg (right) and myself at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica screening of The Killers & Point Blank in which I signed MANY copies of LEE MARVIN: POINT BLANK.

Mike Hamilburg (right) and myself at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica screening of The Killers & Point Blank in which I signed MANY copies of LEE MARVIN: POINT BLANK, published thanks to his perserverance.

When I asked Hamilburg to sign my copy of my book, he wrote, "Dwayne -- not only the most wonderful client, but now a close friend. Yours, Mike Hamilburg."

When I asked Hamilburg to sign my copy of my book, he wrote, “Dwayne — not only the most wonderful client, but now a close friend. Yours, Mike Hamilburg.”

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