Is Susie Myerson Inspired by a Real Talent Manager?

Image Credit: K.C. Bailey/ Prime Video

Prime Video’s ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ follows the story of Miriam “Midge” Maisel, a housewife living the perfect life, which is upturned when her husband decides that they should get a divorce. Outraged by this and that he cheated on her with his secretary, Midge rants about it at a club, revealing a talent for stand-up comedy. While the others dismiss her rant as a one-time outburst, Susie Myerson sees potential in Midge.

It is Susie who encourages Midge to hone her craft and get into stand-up comedy professionally. Over the years, she paves a path for Midge, guiding her through tough times and supporting her even when nothing’s going right. This makes Susie one of the most beloved characters in the show.

Susie Myerson: A Fictional Creation

No, Susie Myerson’s character in ‘The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel’ isn’t based on a real person. Not directly, at least. In an interview with NPR, Alex Borstein, who plays Susie, revealed that the creators had a real-life legendary figure in mind while sketching Susie’s character. “She [Amy Sherman-Palladino] did pull from a, you know, Sue Mengers kind of a character, too. And the women that have risen to the top and especially during that time were pretty few and far between and very recognizable,” the Emmy-winning actress said.

Image Credits: Nicole Rivelli/Prime Video

Sue Mengers came into the field of talent management in the mid-50s. She started as a receptionist at the MCA talent agency in 1955. Later, she got a job as a secretary at the William Morris Agency. When she got the chance to work as a talent agent, Mengers left the job at the prestigious agencies and opted for the smaller, independent one. From here, things only got better.

In the late 60s, she moved to Creative Management Associates and bagged some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Her client list included names like Cher, Brian De Palma, Michael Caine, Steve McQueen, Bob Fosse, Faye Dunaway, and Barbra Streisand, to name a few. She established herself as a force to be reckoned with in a field that was still under the monopoly of men. She became one of the first women to become as influential as she got as a talent agent. She was known for her wit and brilliance and was known to be tough with her clients and executives when things needed to be sorted out.

We see a similar flair in Susie Myerson, who starts from the bottom. Her eye for talent takes her out of the dingy bar she’d been working in. By the end, she becomes a huge name in Hollywood, moving on from clients like Midge and Sophie Lennon. In the fifth season, Streisand is mentioned as one of her clients, which could be a nod to Mengers.

Amy Sherman-Palladino, who co-created the series with her husband Dan Palladino, wrote Susie Myerson with Borstein in mind. In an interview with The LA Times, Borstein revealed that she had been thinking about taking a break from acting and had already moved to Barcelona when Sherman-Palladino offered her the role. Despite her inhibitions, Borstein couldn’t resist accepting the offer after reading the script.

To channel Susie, Borstein sought inspiration in something closer to home. Calling her character “a pit bull,” the actress said she looked towards her mother and grandmother to fuel life into the role. “This character just feels very familiar, regardless of what profession and what world she’s working in. She’s my grandmother. She’s my mother. She’s people, like Amy Sherman-Palladino, in my life,” she said. Considering all this, we can say that Susie Myerson is not real, but the writers and the actor have referenced real-life characters to make her as realistic as possible.

Read More: Is Miriam “Midge” Maisel Based on a Real Stand-Up Comedian?