Pierre Cossette, Broadway Producer, Dies at 85

Obituaries   Pierre Cossette, Broadway Producer, Dies at 85
Pierre Cossette, who won a Tony Award for producing The Will Rogers Follies, died on Sept. 11 in Montreal. He was 85.

Mr. Cossette was a major figure in the music industry, most famous for bringing the Grammy Awards to television, transforming it from an obscure industry honor to the most widely recognized award show in music. But he also dabbled in the theatre, first in 1962 with a flop play called The Egg.

When he returned to Broadway three decades later, it was with a hit. The Will Rogers Follies, with a score by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, starred Keith Carradine in a whimsical, light-hearted, vaudeville-like account of the life of humorist Will Rogers. It ran for two-and-a-half years and won Tony Awards for Best Musical and for director-choreographer Tommy Tune.

Mr. Cossette worked with Tune again on 1992's Tommy Tune Tonight!. He last two Broadway productions, The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Civil War, both scored by Frank Wildhorn, were not successes, though both were nominated for Best Musical Tony Awards.

Pierre Maurice Joseph Cossette was born in Valleyfield, Quebec, near Montreal, on Dec. 15, 1923. After graduating from U.S.C. in 1949 with a degree in journalism, he was hired by MCA, the dominant music talent agency.

In 1964, with the producer Lou Adler, he helped found Dunhill Records, which recorded Johnny Rivers, the Mamas and the Papas and Three Dog Night. His memoir, "Another Day in Showbiz: One Producer's Journey," was published in 2003. Mr. Cossette is survived by his wife, Mary; his son, John; another son, Andrew; five stepchildren, John Ufland, Anne Casey, Christopher Ufland, Jennifer Bontempo and Joslin Weiner; and eight grandchildren.

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