La Cage aux Folles and "Grease" Producer Allan Carr is Dead at 62

News   La Cage aux Folles and "Grease" Producer Allan Carr is Dead at 62
 
Allan Carr, the flamboyant theatre and film producer who presented Broadway's La Cage aux Folles and the film "Grease," died June 29 of cancer, according to Reuters.

Allan Carr, the flamboyant theatre and film producer who presented Broadway's La Cage aux Folles and the film "Grease," died June 29 of cancer, according to Reuters.

A Paramount Pictures spokeswoman told Reuters Mr. Carr died at his Los Angeles home at age 62.

Known for his extravagant lifestyle -- star-studded parties, wild clothes, full-length furs -- and his associations with mega celebrities such as Elton John, Mr. Carr was said to have discovered Marlo Thomas, Michelle Pfeiffer, Steve Guttenberg and Lisa Hartman.

He had health problems over the years, and in 1998 underwent a kidney transplant.

His 1978 film "Grease" -- which he co-wrote and co-produced -- became the highest grossing movie musical of all time, and he produced the sequel "Grease 2," starring Pfeiffer. In 1983, he produced the Jerry Herman Broadway musical version of the hit French play and film, La Cage aux Folles, which increased his fortune. The show won Best Musical, Best Book and Best Score Tony Awards in 1984. Despite his film producing muscle, a movie version of the Herman musical never materialized despite fanciful casting ideas. (At one point Frank Sinatra had been mentioned for the role of Georges.) However, 14 years after La Cage was in New York, an Americanized, non-musical film, "The Birdcage," based on the same source, was a Hollywood hit without Mr. Carr's involvement.

His love affair with show business began when he was growing up in Highland Park, IL., and his parents, Ann Niemetz and Albert Solomon, took him to see the national company of High Button Shoes in Chicago.

While still a student, he was a young investor in shows -- $750 in Ziegfeld Follies with Tallulah Bankhead, which he never saw because it closed on the road, and $1250 in The Happiest Millionaire, which was a hit.

He became an impresario in Chicago, at the Civic Center, presenting Bette Davis in The World of Carl Sandburg, Eva La Galliene in Tyrone Guthrie's staging of Mary Stuart, and Tennessee Williams' Garden District.

When he moved to the West Coast he produced Norman Krasna's Sunday in New York, starring a then-unknown USC actress, Marlo Thomas.

As a personal manager, he represented Thomas, Ann-Margret, Peter Sellers, Melina Mercouri, Marvin Hamlisch, Tijuana Brass, Dyan Cannon, Paul Anka, Petula Clark, Peggy Lee and Rosalind Russell, among many others.

-- By Kenneth Jones

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