Don Seat, a veteran entertainment impressario who managed and represented numerous celebrities since the 1930s, died Oct. 24 in Tampa, Fla., following a lengthy illness. He was 82.
A native of Missouri, he left home at the age of 12 to become a professional piano player. In 1934, Count Basie helped teach Seat how to play jazz, and soon after he was considered one of the top white jazz pianists who could play black jazz.
Working at Al Capone’s Sportsman Club in Chicago, he was spotted by radio and film star Eddie Cantor, who brought Seat back to New York to work on Cantor’s NBC radio show as a pianist, and later assistant producer.
In 1935 Seat relocated to Hollywood and worked as a casting agent at 20th Century Fox and later MGM.
In 1941 he helped negotiate Jane Russell’s contract with Howard Hughes.
During the 1950s he met and became a protege of mogul Joseph P. Kennedy, who guided him during the formation of GAC.
In 1956 Seat discovered Conway Twitty. He managed Twitty’s career and published his songs for many years.
Seat also managed and negotiated the record deals for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, Jerry Lee Lewis and Charley Rich.
During his long and varied career, he also worked with Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Frank Sinatra, Mitch Miller, Bob Hope, Johnny Cash, the Mamas and the Papas and the Jackson Five.
Seat is survived by a daughter and a son.