Refresh for updates Hollywood figures and celebrities took to Twitter to honor prolific producer Craig Zadan, who died Tuesday after complications following shoulder replacement surgery.
Zadan is known for championing musical theater and produced Oscar telecasts as well as the Academy Award-winning film adaptation of the musical Chicago. He is also known for bringing live musical events to NBC including The Sound of Music, Peter Pan, the Wiz, Hairspray, and most recently, Jesus Christ Superstar. He was set to produce the forthcoming live TV productions Bye Bye Birdie, A Few Good Men and Hair.
Among those to give their condolences was Kevin Bacon, who starred in 1984’s Footloose which Zadan produced. “Wow so sad to hear about Craig Zadan,” tweeted Bacon. “He had music and dance in his soul. And when people are dancing and singing the world is a better place. RIP Craig and Cut Loose!”
Neil Patrick Harris tweeted, “I’m stunned and saddened the unexpected passing of Craig Zadan. He’s been a friend my entire adult life, championed me to host the Oscars, brought musical theatre back to TV. A wonderful, kind spirit. My sincere condolences to his family and his partner, Elwood. #RIP”
Frequent collaborator Kristen Chenoweth honored Zadan as well: “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.”
Broadway vet and the original Edna Turnblad from the Hairspray stage musical, Harvey Fierstein tweeted:
“Shocking news of the loss of Craig Zadan. WTF????”
John Legend, who starred in NBC’s live concert version of Jesus Christ Superstar also remembered Zadan: “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. A wonderful producer and a lovely man.”
Another Broadway fave and Will & Grace star Sean Hayes said, “I am devastated by the news of the passing of my dear friend and film, tv & Broadway producer, @craigzadan. My life and career were forever changed by the opportunities he and his producing partner, @neilmeron, provided me over the years. I will miss him, dearly.”
Joe Iconis, who wrote music for TV’s Smash and currently has an Off Broadway hit in Be More Chill told Deadline: “Craig was incredibly supportive of my work and had the reputation of being a ludicrously nice man. A fella who supports the work of new musical theater writers and is a kind upstanding human being? Unheard of. What a unicorn.”
Katie Couric added to the tribute saying, “This is so heartbreaking. A wonderful man and a brilliant producer.”
In 2012, GLAAD honored Zadan and his producing partner Neil Meron with the Vito Russo Award. President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis paid her respects saying, “Craig Zadan was a giant in the entertainment industry and brought joy to American audiences for years, all while accelerating acceptance for LGBTQ people along the way. Our hearts go out to his partner, Elwood Hopkins, as well as his producing partner, Neil Meron.”
The American Theatre Wing and the Tony Awards also gave their condolences as well as numerous noted Hollywood figures and stars from stage and screen including Adam Shankman (who directed the Zadan-produced Hairspray movie adaptation), Smash star Debra Messing, Leslie Grossman, Lance Bass, Michael Chiklis, Gale Anne Hurd and others.
Read the tweets below.
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Craig Zadan was a phenomenal producer, creator and friend. It is heartbreaking to hear that he has suddenly passed away from complications… My heart goes out to his family, his friends and all the people he has impacted through his belief and commitment to his craft. His passion and soul will be missed dearly. Craig, thank you for seeing me and believing in me as my first leading lady, Arielle in Footloose. It was one of the most special experiences of my life and I am eternally grateful. I’ll always have you in my heart..❤️