|Born||Laszlo (Lazarus) Winogradsky
3 June 1916
London, England, United Kingdom
|Died||15 October 1979
Fréjus, the Var, France
|Board member of||Grade Organisation (1943–66)
Leyton Orient F.C.
|Spouse(s)||Audrey Smith (2nd marriage)|
|Children||Michael Grade (1st marriage)
Antony Grade and Anita Land (2nd marriage)
|Parent(s)||Isaac and Olga Winogradsky|
|Relatives||Lew Grade and Bernard Delfont (brothers)|
Leslie Grade (born Laszlo (Lazarus) Winogradsky; 3 June 1916 – 15 October 1979) was a British theatrical talent agent. In 1943, he co-founded the Grade Organisation (also known as Lew and Leslie Grade Ltd) with his elder brother, the impresario and producer Lew Grade (1906–98); during the 1940s, it became the UK's most successful light entertainment talent agency.
Life and career
Grade, the youngest of three brothers, was born in London. In 1912, four years prior to his birth, his Jewish family had emigrated from Tokmak, Ukraine – then Imperial Russian territory – in response to pogroms. Leslie and his siblings, Lew and Bernard (1909–94), were raised in Stepney. While their parents, Isaac and Olga, worked in the textile industry, the brothers left school at the age of 14 to establish themselves in showbusiness.
With Lew, Grade became one of the UK's best-known and most respected media executives. During the late 1940s, his clients included Jack Benny, Bob Hope and Danny Kaye. In the 1950s and 1960s, many artists represented by Grade appeared in the variety show Sunday Night at the London Palladium, broadcast by Lew's ITV franchisee Associated Television (ATV).
Grade's son – Michael Grade, Baron Grade of Yarmouth, CBE – is a former television executive who has held top-ranking posts within the BBC, ITV and Channel 4. His first wife left him for the wrestling commentator Kent Walton. Grade had two additional children by his second marriage, to Audrey Smith: theatrical agent Anita Grade (now Land) and Antony Grade, formerly Vice-President of Exterior Design for Renault and currently Head of Design for Avtovaz. With his friend Harry Zussman, Grade served, for many years, as a Director of Leyton Orient F.C.
Grade's career was curtailed by a series of strokes in the mid-1960s, and the ownership of the Grade Organisation passed to Michael in 1966. It was part sold the following year, and renamed London Management under Michael's direction. Grade died in France in 1979. Unlike his brothers, he was not awarded a peerage or a knighthood.
- Halstead, Richard (2 February 1997). "Making of the Grades: Profile: The Grade Dynasty". The Independent (Independent Print Ltd). Archived from the original on 10 November 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2013.
- Bevan, Ian (2002). Chambers, Colin, ed. The Continuum Companion to Twentieth-Century Theatre. London and New York City: Continuum International Publishing Group. p. 326. ISBN 978-1-847140012.