Craig Zadan, Emmy-Nominated Oscars Producer, Dies at 69

Prolific producer died due to complications of shoulder replacement surgery

Craig Zadan
Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Craig Zadan, the prolific producer behind a number of movies, TV projects and Broadway musicals, has died at the age of 69 due to complications related to shoulder replacement surgery.

“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,” NBC Chairman Robert Greenblatt said in a statement Tuesday. “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, theatre, 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.”

Along with his producing partner, Neil Meron, Zadan produced the Oscars telecasts from 2013 to 2015, earning an Emmy nomination for the show all three years.

The duo was also behind the Oscar-winning film adaptation of “Chicago,” Broadway revivals of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “Promises, Promises,” as well as the NBC musical drama “Smash.”

Zadan, alongside Meron, was also the producer of NBC’s recent string of live musicals, including “The Sound of Music,” “Peter Pan,” “The Wiz,” “Hairspray” and this year’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.” They were next set to produce the live adaptation of the musical “Hair” in 2019.

In total, Zadan and Meron’s productions have earned a total of six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes, 17 Emmy Awards, two Peabody Awards, a Grammy Award, six GLAAD Awards, four NAACP Image Awards and two Tony Awards.