Craig Zadan, Producer of 'Chicago' and 'Hairspray,' Dead at 69
By Liz Calvario
Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
Craig Zadan, prolific producer of Chicago and Hairspray, died from complications during shoulder replacement surgery, ET confirms. He was 69.
“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," said Robert Greenblatt, NBC Entertainment chairman, in a statement to ET. "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, theater, 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.”
Zadan, a 14-time Primetime Emmy-nominated producer, began his career producing Footloose in 1984. With over 60 credits to his name, the Miami native was also known for his work on The Three Stooges, Lucy, The Bucket List, Peter Pan Live!, Hairspray Live!, The Sound of Music Live! and, most recently, Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert. He was also on pre-production on Bye Bye Birdie Live! and the TV movie A Few Good Men.
The sad news comes after Hollywood has said goodbye to several public figures in recent months, including Aretha Franklin, Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Margot Kidder, Avicii and more. Shortly after the breaking news of Zadan's passing, celebrities like John Legend, Neil Patrick Harris and more shared their condolences on social media.
"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," Legend tweeted. "A wonderful producer and a lovely man."
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. https://t.co/pFSSSaabhM
"I’m stunned and saddened the unexpected passing of Craig Zadan," Harris expressed. "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"
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. #RIPpic.twitter.com/BWLDmViJar
Immensely saddened to hear of the passing of my friend Craig Zadan. He was a fantastically talented, visionary producer who brought so much to every project he touched, and had so much more still to give. His loss is deeply felt by all who had the good fortune to know him.
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. pic.twitter.com/SoPSZCCrkE
Devastated to hear of Craig Zadan's sudden passing. He was a true gentleman and a thoughtful, sensitive and tremendously talented producer. My heart goes out to his family, friends and colleagues. Rest in peace Craig.