JAMES M. NEDERLANDER - "JIMMY"
Legendary entertainment impresario James M. “Jimmy” Nederlander passed away on Monday, July 25, 2016 at the age of 94.
Nederlander, Chairman of The Nederlander Organization, produced some of the most renowned shows in the history of Broadway and was credited with developing the idea of producing shows in outdoor amphitheaters.
James L. Nederlander, President of The Nederlander Organization, commented, “He was my best friend, and partner in every aspect of our business. We collaborated every day. The world has lost one of its great impresarios.”
Jimmy is survived by his wife Charlene S. Nederlander, his son James L. Nederlander and daughter-in-law Margo M. Nederlander, his grandchildren James M. Nederlander II and Kathleen M. Nederlander, his stepdaughter Kristina Gustafson and her children Gunnar Gustafson and Krisanna Gustafson.
James M. Nederlander built The Nederlander Organization, one of the largest private live entertainment companies in the world that now encompasses venue ownership and management, theatrical producing and concert presentation, merchandising, concessions and patron services.
Jimmy started working in the theatre at age 7, sweeping floors for his father David Tobias (D.T.) Nederlander in Detroit, Michigan. During a career that spanned 70 years, Jimmy amassed a network of premier legitimate theatres, with nine theatres on Broadway: the Brooks Atkinson, Gershwin, Lunt-Fontanne, Marquis, Minskoff, Nederlander, Neil Simon, Richard Rodgers, and the renowned Palace; theatres in Chicago including: Auditorium and Bank of America Theatres, Broadway Playhouse, Cadillac Palace and Oriental Theatres; theatres in Los Angeles including, the magnificent Pantages Theatre; and in London, the Adelphi, Aldwych, and Dominion Theatres.
He produced over one hundred of the most acclaimed Broadway musicals and plays of all time, including: Annie, Applause, La Cage aux Folles, Me and My Girl, Nine, Noises Off, Peter Pan, Sweet Charity, The Will Rogers Follies, Woman of the Year, and many more.
Jimmy M. Nederlander’s name will be forever linked to some of the world’s most distinguished performing companies, whose work he produced and presented on Broadway including: the Royal Shakespeare Company’s acclaimed productions of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Cyrano and Sherlock Holmes, Rudolf Nureyev and Friends, The Bolshoi Ballet, and the Virsky’s Ukranian State Dance Company.
Jimmy was credited with developing the outdoor amphitheatre concept as the developer of premier venues including the New Jersey Garden State Arts Center, Pine Knob Music Theatre, the Merriweather Post Pavilion, the Pacific Amphitheatre, and as the decades-long operator of the Greek Theatre where he presented headline artists including Tony Bennett, Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Liza Minnelli, and Frank Sinatra, among many others.
“Generous,” “loyal” and “trusted” are just a few of the accolades Jimmy’s numerous friends used to describe him—many of whom enjoyed a life-long personal and business relationship with Jimmy. In 1972, Jimmy and friends Earl Blackwell, Gerard Oestricher, and Arnold Weissberg founded the Theatre Hall of Fame, which is still housed in the lobby of the Gershwin Theatre. In 1973, he partnered with George Steinbrenner to purchase the New York Yankees.
Beloved by the industry, Jimmy was the recipient of many distinguished honors including the United Nations Foundation Champion Award (2012), The Broadway League’s Schoenfeld Vision for Arts Education Award (2011), the New York Pop’s Man of the Year (2008), the Tony Award® Special Tony Award for Life Time Achievement (2004), The Actors’ Fund Medal of Honor (2002), United Jewish Appeal-New York Federations’ Bernard B. Jacobs Excellence in the Theatre Award (1997), and the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located outside the Pantages Theatre at 6233 Hollywood Blvd. In 2009, The National High School Musical Theater Award was established and named The Jimmy® to celebrate his career-long dedication to supporting young talent. Jimmy received an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts at the Forty-third Commencement exercises at The University of Connecticut School of Medicine, School of Dental Medicine and Graduate School on Monday, May 12, 2014.