Craig Zadan Dies; Beloved TV Producer Was 69

Craig Zadan, a television producer who had been in the news over the past few years for helming NBC’s popular string of live musicals has passed away due to complications from shoulder replacement surgery.

He was 69 years old.

Under their Storyline Entertainment banner (recently renamed Zadan/Meron Productions), Zadan and Neil Meron were responsible for the film versions of Chicago and Hairspray, along with five musical programs for the aforementioned network.

Most recently, they worked to bring Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert to the small screen.

This producing tandem was also behind the the drama Smash and produced a trio of Oscar telecasts.

In confirming the sad news, NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt released the following statement on Monday night:

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.

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.

On Broadway, Zadan producers revivals of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying and Promises, Promises.

Along with Meron over the years, his collection includes:

Six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, 17 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, a Grammy Award, six GLAAD Awards, four NAACP Image Awards and two Tony Awards.

The tragic news was met with shock and sadness from those in the entertainment community who either worked with Zadan or had grown to know him well.

“RIP to our friend Craig. He produced Jesus Christ Superstar with us and also produced the Oscars when Common and I sang “Glory” in front of a replica of the Pettus Bridge,” Tweeted John Legendm adding:

“A wonderful producer and a lovely man,” Legend wrote on Twitter.

“Added Kristin Chenoweth, who is pictured above with the producers:

“Annie, The Music Man, Promises, Hairspray… Craig, you were there with me from the beginning. This is a true loss not only for me, but for the world.

“Rest in peace, sweetheart.”

As far as we can tell, Zadan was not married and did not leave behind any children.

But his work and his influence will continue to be felt for years to come.

May he rest in peace.

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