Producer Craig Zadan, known for bringing musicals to the screen, has passed away at age 69 after complications following shoulder replacement surgery, NBC confirmed Tuesday.
“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,” Robert Greenblatt, chairman of NBC Entertainment, said in a statement.
Along with Neil Meron, Zadan produced all of NBC’s recent live musicals, most recently “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and was tapped to produce the live musical version of “Hair” in the spring of this year. Zadan and Meron were also behind the film musicals “Chicago,” “Hairspray” and “Gypsy,” starring Bette Midler, “Footloose” and the television show “Smash,” among others.
“I first met Craig in 1977 and we formed a great friendship at the time which I was hugely glad to resume over his fantastic production of Jesus Christ Superstar for NBC. Craig, Neil Meron, and I were planning other projects and I have lost a friend and valued colleague. Music will be the poorer without him,” Andrew Lloyd Webber said in a statement.
On Broadway, Zadan and Meron produced the revivals of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” in 2011 and “Promises, Promises” in 2010. Zadan directed the Broadway revue “Up in One” in 1979.
The pair announced in May that they would bring a musical adaptation of “Some Like It Hot” to Broadway in 2020, as part of a development and productions deal with The Shubert Organization. Zadan said they had three other projects in negotiations at the time.
All together, Zadan and Meron’s projects have earned a six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, 17 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, a Grammy Awards and two Tony Awards.