Lawrence Dolin ran Front Row, Playhouse Square

Lawrence Dolin, who owned Front Row Theater in Cleveland for many years, died Dec. 6 in Cleveland of cancer. He was 67.

Dolin booked talent for Front Row as well as for Playhouse Square. Among the acts that came to his theaters were Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini, Bob Newhart and Glen Campbell.

Dolin opened Front Row in 1974 with backing from his parents and other investors. His wife, Deedra, recalled in the Cleveland Plain Dealer how Jay Leno asked to be released from his contract in 1993 because his mother was dying. Luther Vandross replaced the comedian.

Dolin also leased Cincinnati’s Palace Theater for a couple of years for the same acts as at Front Row. In 1993 as Front Row struggled with rising costs, he merged it with Playhouse Square and ran both before leaving the business in 1998.

Survivors include his wife, Deedra; a daughter; and two sons, Jamie and Jonathan, partners in Sonesta Entertainment in Santa Monica.

Donations may be made to Taussig Cancer Center, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Ave., Cleveland 44195, ccf.org/giving.

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