R.I.P. Gil Friesen

Gil Friesen, one of the few Hollywood executives to wear two hats as president of A&M Records as well as A&M Films (making The Breakfast Club among a dozen films), died today at his Brentwood home. His friends told Deadline his death followed a prolonged battle with leukemia. He was 75. Friesen was best known as a legendary record executive at the privately owned label modestly founded by Jerry Moss and Herb Alpert in the Tijuana Brass trumpet player’s garage in 1962. Cool and popular, Friesen climbed the Hollywood career ladder as one of those golden boys who could do no wrong in showbiz. Beginning his career at Capitol Records, Friesen became A&M’s first general manager. It was Friesen who helped turn Herb Alpert And The Tijuana Brass into a successful touring attraction and developed artists from Cat Stevens, Joe Cocker, Rita Coolidge and The Carpenters to Janet Jackson, Sting, Bryan Adams and Amy Grant. Named president in 1977, Friesen became known as the ‘ampersand’ in A&M Records and expanded it into a full-service entertainment concern, with manufacturing, distribution and marketing agreements with other labels and international offices in London, Paris and Toronto. By 1981, it was natural that the music mogul would seek the personal and professional status that came with making films. A&M Records had first flirted with a film arm in 1968 but A&M Productions, as it was called, folded after a year. In July 1981, the film wing was revived by Friesen who presided over the independent film company A&M Films and arranged for A&M Records to provide all the production funding for the movie wing. (more…)

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2012/12/r-i-p-gil-friesen-388868/