Lew Chudd, founder and president of Imperial Records, the indie record label that launched the career of Fats Domino, died Tuesday of heart failure in Los Angeles. He was 86.
A native of Toronto, Chudd became a U.S. citizen in 1943 and helped the war effort by producing Armed Forces Radio broadcasts and programming. He founded Imperial Records in 1947 and soon after signed a New Orleans teenager named Fats Domino to a recording contract.
Chudd eventually added Ricky Nelson, Slim Whitman and Lightnin’ Hopkins to his roster of artists before selling his record label to Liberty Records in 1963.
He is survived by two sons, Andrew and Reeve, two granddaughters and a great granddaughter. No services were planned.
Family suggests donations in Chudd’s name be made to Make-a-Wish Foundation of Utah, 2091 E. 4800 South, Salt Lake City, UT 84117.