Legendary Producer Craig Zadan Dies at 69

News of his passing has been confirmed by NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt.

AceShowbiz - Former Oscars boss Craig Zadan has died.

The prolific producer, whose hits included the movie musicals Hairspray and Chicago, was 69.

News of his passing has been confirmed by NBC Entertainment chairman Robert Greenblatt, who worked with Zadan on the U.S. network's five TV event musicals, Jesus Christ Superstar, Hairspray, Peter Pan, The Wiz, and Sound of Music.

"It is with profound sadness that I am announcing the passing of my dear friend and colleague Craig Zadan, who died of complications following shoulder replacement surgery," he says in a statement.

"On behalf of his life partner, Elwood Hopkins, and his producing partner, Neil Meron, we are stunned that the man behind so many incredible film, theatre, and television productions - several of them joyous musicals - was taken away so suddenly.

"Craig's distinguished career as a passionate and consummate producer is eclipsed only by his genuine love for the thousands of actors, directors, writers, musicians, designers, and technicians he worked with over the years. His absence will be felt in our hearts and throughout our business".

Zadan was working on the next TV event musical, Hair, with Meron at the time of his death.

Born in Florida in April, 1949, Craig moved to New York City when he was two and started his working life as a writer, contributing articles to New York magazine. His first credit as a theatre producer came in the early 1970s when he took over a Broadway tribute to Stephen Sondheim, featuring Angela Lansbury.

He and Meron became partners in the mid-1970s and worked together at the Public Theater before heading for Hollywood in the early 1980s.

They produced the Academy Awards for three years from 2013.

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