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Sonny Werblin
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Sports Executive
    (March 17, 1907-November 21, 1991)
    Born in Brooklyn, New York
    Birth name was David Abraham Werblin
    Agent for Music Corporation of American (MCA; 1932-62)
    Owner of the New York Jets (1963-68)
    Built and managed the Meadowlands Sports Complex (1971-77)
    Chairman of Madison Square Garden (1978-84)
    As head of MCA's television division, he ran afoul of the anti-trust laws.
    He pioneered package deals in which a network wanting an MCA-represented star would also have to hire MCA-represented supporting players, MCA-represented directors, MCA-represented writers, etc.
    Variety noted about his ability to play the three networks off each other, 'Werblin could play both sides of the fence with effortless dexterity.... He was a masterful practitioner of the time-honored show biz dodge of starting a war and selling ammunition to all sides.'
    His partners in the Jets were so annoyed at the attention he attracted that they forced him out at the beginning of the 1968 season.
    He was married to singer Leah Ray Hubbard for 53 years until his death.
    He was so adept at creating hit shows that NBC president Robert Kitner reportedly told him, 'Sonny, look at the schedule for next season. Here are the empty spots, you fill them.' (1957)
    Howard Cosell said that his signing of Joe Namath to a then-record $400,000 contract 'single-handedly changed the face of sports in America.'
    He said of the deal, 'A million dollar set is worthless if you put a $2,000 actor in the main role.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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