Hollywood is a tough industry to break into. So many people make the pilgrimage to epicenter of the entertainment industry only to be rejected time and time again. It’s a tough place to try and make it and it is definitely not for the faint of heart. It takes a strong backbone and an even stronger will to make it. It is important to acknowledge that the greats in Hollywood don’t make it because they are lucky, they make it because of their grit and determination. Vincent Cirrincione is one of those people. The producer and talent manager has been one of the most significant forces in entertainment. He came from very humble beginnings but through hard work and determination, he was able to make it to the top.
It is important to never forget where you came from and Vincent never forgot his roots. During his lifelong career in the entertainment industry, he would often discuss how his upbringing helped him in his career and the impact it had on his work ethic. Born in May of 1947 into the crazy bustle and bustle of Brooklyn, New York, Vincent was raised by his two Italian grandparents. He grew up with his family in a row house on Avenue U in Marine Park. He grew up working in his grandparent’s grocery store in the neighborhood.
Maine Park is a neighborhood in the borough of Brooklyn and many of the residents are of Irish and Italian decent but recently has seen an influx of Orthodox Jewish families moving to the area. It also has a small Black and Asian population. Considered a diverse area, Marine Park is considered a true suburban area. Even though, much of New York is quite modernized, Marine Park has maintained a lot of that family feel. There is a huge park that dominates that neighborhood that also contains the Marine Park Bocce Club. Modern Bocce Ball was developed by the Italians and was very popular in Marine Park.
Vincent grew up in this area during the Post-War years when most of Brooklyn’s industrial energies moved out of the area and into cheaper locations. The city started to change during Vincent’s upbringing but the one thing he always looked forward to was sneaking into the famous of Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Both Vincent and his friends were unable to afford tickets to the games but they snuck in because they loved the team. The Brooklyn Dodgers were the pride of Brooklyn and it was a devastating blow to the borough when the team was moved to Los Angeles in 1957.
In order to make money to be able to afford a ticket, Vincent started selling Christmas trees during the holiday season. While selling Christmas trees, Vincent learned a valuable lesson. He started selling the trees with the best side facing out. This drew customers to the tree and they were more prone to buy it. He knew at this moment, he was a natural born salesman. He loved working and interacting with people. It was from a very young age that he knew he wanted to become a talent agent for big name talent in Hollywood.
This dream of being a talent agent stayed with him. He knew he had to hustle to get there and that it wasn’t going to happen overnight. Vincent was his mother’s caretaker during his high school years and he continued to be her caretaker after he graduated. He was unable to enter the draft because his mother relied on him for daily care so he had to defer. He did ultimately end up drafting but was never called up for service. During his time post high school, Vincent got his first real job as a back room worker at the investment firm White, Weld & Co. on the notorious and historical Wall Street. The exhilarating and savage environment was appealing to Vincent, who was a natural born hustler. He gained a lot of valuable and insightful experience that would later help him in a very high-pressure career.
His entrance into the entertainment industry came soon enough. His first real brush with the entertainment world was working as a food vendor for the infamous music festival, Woodstock. The Iconic music festival was held on a dairy farm in the Catskill Mountains, just northwest of New York City in August of 1969. The music festival drew 400,000 people and was billed as “An Aquarian Exposition: 3 Days of Peace & Music”. There were a total of 32 acts that performed and the festival is considered one of the most pivotal points in the entire history of music. His time spent at the festival gave him the taste for the excitement and the energy of the entertainment industry.
Woodstock was an eye-opening experience for Vincent. It gave him a taste of the industry and he wanted more and he couldn’t wait. He started working for the Anderson Theater promoting the idiosyncratic singer/songwriter/multi-instrumental visual artist, Captain Beefheart. Captain Beefheart is considered a pioneer in modern music and had amassed a cult following. Vincent needed an opening act for the show and as he was scouring the city for the perfect opening act, he came across Larry Coryell. Once he heard Coryell, he knew he had found something special.
Larry Coryell is an American jazz musician who was playing a gig at Slugs, the infamous and gritty jazz club in Manhattan’s East Village, when Vincent came across him. The club became very well known for its regular jazz performances and its vibrant atmosphere. It became a popular hangout for well-known musicians and artists, including the likes of Larry Rivers, Bob Thompson and Salvador Dalí. It was in the environment that Vincent Cirrincione signed his first client.
Coryell had a very special style of jazz that he played and his style would later be known as “jazz fusion”. This is a musical genre that was developed in the late 1960’s and it is when the musician would combine the jazz harmony with rock music, funk and rhythm and blues to create the distinct sound that is defined as jazz fusion. Coryell would ultimately become known as the godfather of jazz fusion. Vincent, being the natural born salesman that he was, he convinced Coryell to sign him as his manager.
The rest, as they say is history. Vincent’s career as a talent manager took off. He started off small in a tiny office that could have passed for a closet across from the historic Studio 54. This less than distinguished start was by no means any indication of the trajectory that his career was going to take in the future. Vincent Cirrincione later went on to become one of the most sought after Hollywood managers and producers in the industry. He helped shape the careers of both Halle Berry and Taraji P. Henson. His beginnings in a row house in Brooklyn led him to the bright lights of Hollywood. The man is an icon in the industry and has helped to shape the careers of many famous people in entertainment.