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James M. Nederlander Passes

SOUTHAMPTON, NY (CelebrityAccess) — James M. Nederlander, chairman of the Nederlander Organization, the largest owner of major venues on Broadway, died on July 25th in Southampton, New York. He was 94.

The theater empire that Nederlander oversaw includes the largest major theater holdings in the world, with nine venues on Broadway, including the Gershwin, Palace, and Neil Simon Theatres; three in London's West End including the Adelphi and the Dominion Theatres and 17 around the U.S., including the Hollywood Pantages in Los Angeles, City National Grove of Anaheim, The Auditorium and Cadillac Palace Theatres in Chicago and the Fisher Theatre in Detroit.

A native of Detroit, Nederlander was the first of his brothers to join the family business after dropping out of the pre-law program at the Detroit Institute of Technology. After his father's death in 1967, Nederlander and his brothers would expand their theater holdings nationally, with James moving to New York to oversee theater acquisitions there and facing off against rivals The Shubert Family.

Nederlander also oversaw the 1973 deal that saw James and his brothers join a group of investors led by George Steinbrenner in the purchase of the New York Yankees from CBS for $8.7 million.

He was also a prolific producer, overseeing more than one hundred Broadway plays and musicals, including Annie, Applause, La Cage aux Folles, Me and My Girl, Nine, Noises Off, Peter Pan, Sweet Charity, The Will Rogers Follies, and Woman of the Year.

Despite the company's success, James Nederlander remained unpretentious, often called "Jimmy" and cleaving to the mantra that nobody knows anything in show business.

He leaves his son James L. Nederlander as well as executive vice president Nick Scandalios in senior roles at the Nederlander Organization.

“He was my best friend and partner in every aspect of our business,” said James L. Nederlander of his father. “We collaborated every day. The world has lost one of its great impresarios.”