Billy Sammeth, Manager of Cher and Joan Rivers, Dies at 66

He also worked with Olivia Newton-John and K.C. & the Sunshine Band

Last Updated: June 18, 2018 @ 9:07 AM

Billy Sammeth, the longtime manager of Cher and Joan Rivers, has died at the age of 66 from pancreatic cancer in New York City.

The Hollywood Reporter was first to report the news.

Born in Brooklyn in 1951, Sammeth got his start in the entertainment business writing press releases for Donny Osmond and the Osmond Brothers. He parlayed that into managing the Osmond’s licensing empire when he was in his early twenties.

In 1983, Sammeth started his own company — The Bill Sammeth Organization — where he managed a wide array of talent, including the aforementioned Osmond, Olivia Newton-John and K.C. & the Sunshine Band. Also while on his own, Sammeth managed Cher for several decades.

During their time working together, Cher reemerged as a Top 40 force, with hits like “If I Could Turn Back Time” and “Believe.” She also won the Best Actress Oscar in 1988 for her role in “Moonstruck.”

Additionally, Sammeth managed Joan Rivers for more than two decades. The two had an acrimonious split in 2009 following the comedian’s victory on “Celebrity Apprentice.” Sammeth sued Rivers for 10 percent of the $200,000 she won on the show but also sued her for $2 million for defamation of character for his portrayal in “Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work.” They ultimately settled out of court and reconciled before her death.