Gary Stewart, whose love of the music industry’s hidden gems saw him successfully curate TV’s The Gilmore Girls soundtrack and the tunes for the period pieces of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, has died. He was 62 and was widely known in the music industry for his passion for catalog.
Stewart began his career at the Rhino Records store in Westwood, growing with the company as it evolved into a record label that was the leading repackager in the business. He later joined Apple Music in two separate instances.
Amy Sherman-Palladino and Daniel Palladino, showrunners of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, paid tribute to Stewart: “We are deeply saddened by the death of our friend Gary Stewart,” they said. “His generosity and enthusiasms were infectious. He was a tireless warrior for social causes and fought injustice every day of his life. He was a magic genie with a trunk full of CDs and a love of music that was unparalleled. He produced our Gilmore soundtrack with as much energy and devotion as if it was The White Album, and will continue to be an influence on the sounds of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. He was the best of the best.”
At Apple, Stewart was the chief music officer for Apple’s iTunes before leaving, then coming back to handle catalog curation. He left the company for good in 2018. He also was a co-founder of Trunkworthy, a website devoted to “underappreciated yet overachieving music, movies, and television,” as it billed itself.
Stewart was also deeply involved in charitable efforts, helming Rhino’s employee volunteer program, which allowed Rhino workers to take off a week between Christmas and New Year’s with pay if they donated 18 hours of service time. Stewart served on the boards of Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, the Community Coalition, Liberty Hill Foundation and Social Venture Network at various times.
Rhino president Mark Pinkus said in a statement, “Gary Stewart was a great man and a dear friend. He was truly the architect and guiding spirit of Rhino. He defined what it meant to be a catalog label… not only for Rhino, but for the entire industry. He was not only the creative backbone of Rhino, but he also set the standard for our social consciousness. If you have ever enjoyed a rare demo or B-side that you never knew existed, or marveled at holding a beautiful boxed set from one of your favorite artists, then you owe a debt of gratitude to Gary Stewart.”
Stewart is survived by a brother and extended family members. A memorial service is being planned for May 25. The family has requested donations in his memory to the Community Coalition, Los Angeles Alliance fora New Economy, or the Liberty Hill Foundation.