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Bennett CerfBennett Cerf
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by your wife or anybody else--and actually getting paid for it! But I found that I did not like the way Mr. Leigh did business.

Then, luckily for me, I signed up with the Lee Keedick Agency. Lee Keedick is dead. His son, Bob Keedick, owns the agency and there's a lady there named Elizabeth Shenck, who has been a very important person in my life. She takes care of all of my lecture activities and is absolutely wonderful. I became a top lecturer, getting very high fees, although I wasn't when I started because you have to work your way up like you do in the theater. I then brought to Keedick lots of other people. One was Kitty Hart, who has now become a very successful lecturer. They already had John Mason Brown and Norman Cousins. In fact, I guess it was Norman, when I was grumbling about Colston Leigh, who said, “Why don't you go to my bureau, Lee Keedick.” At that time John Mason Brown was the biggest lecturer in the United States; and Brown, Cousins, and I made quite a triumvirate. We would boost each other on lectures, and we would get each other dates. If you do a good lecture, one of the first questions they'll ask you is “Who do you suggest we get for next year?" So we were able to do each other good turns.

The lecture business is a very peculiar one. The standard commission that the lecture agent gets is one-third of what you get--one-third, not ten per cent like agents in the theater or literary agents. They get thirty-three and a third per cent and you have to pay your own expenses.

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