Manny Fox dies at 77

Produced Broadway's 'Sophisticated Ladies'

Manheim Fox, a producer of the 1980s Broadway hit “Sophisticated Ladies” who worked with a variety of musical and theatrical artists, including George Burns, Barbra Streisand and Johnny Cash, died from a heart condition in Phoenix, Ariz., on Sept. 23. He was 77.

Fox produced a five-LP retrospective of Duke Ellington’s music that eventually led to the musical “Sophisticated Ladies,” starring Gregory Hines, based on Ellington’s work.

“Sophisticated Ladies” ran for 767 performances on Broadway in the early 1980s and was Tony nominated for best musical in 1981.

Fox produced five subsequent productions of “Sophisticated Ladies” throughout the world.

His record career included numerous anthology albums including Orson Welles’ famous broadcast of “The War of the Worlds”; “The Golden Age of Comedy,” narrated by George Burns; and “Showstoppers” — 50 performances by the original casts in Broadway musicals including Ethel Merman, Rex Harrison, Barbra Streisand and Ezio Pinza. TV credits include “The Best of Broadway” for CBS and “Enchanted Evenings With Rodgers and Hammerstein” for PBS.

More recently Fox produced three original children’s musicals, “On Our Own,” “Relatively Speaking” and “Questionable Quest,” which was performed at Broadway’s Beacon Theater.

Fox was born and raised in New York. His first major New York offering was a show called “The Roots of Jazz” at the Cherry Lane Theater in Greenwich Village in 1959. Thereafter he presented jazz festivals with Louis Armstrong and Sarah Vaughan and folk festivals at Carnegie Hall featuring a theatricalization of Carl Sandburg’s “The American Songbag” with Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Phil Ochs, Buffy Sainte-Marie and the Staple Singers.

Fox also presented “A Happening With Salvador Dali” at Lincoln Center, with Salvador Dali painting on a huge scrim onstage and facing the audience while ballet dancers improvised to a live jazz band.

During the years he lived in Puerto Rico, Fox hosted a weekly radio show called “From Here to Broadway,” and wrote a weekly newspaper column for the San Juan Star called “Diary of a Producer.”

He is survived by his four sons and three grandchildren.

Popular on Variety

More Music

  • Midland Offers a Clever Take on

    Album Review: Midland's 'Let It Roll'

    At the end of 2019, if you tally up all the steel guitar playing that appeared on a mainstream country album released by a major label this year, chances are that at least 80 percent of it will have occurred solely on Midland’s new album. That’s not the only reason to buy “Let It Roll,” [...]

  • Taylor Swift: Borchetta 'Conveniently Forgets' Scooter

    Taylor Swift: Scott Borchetta 'Has 300 Million Reasons to Forget' Scooter Braun Warnings

    In an interview with “CBS Sunday Morning,” Taylor Swift charged that the president of her former label, Big Machine’s Scott Borchetta, has a selective memory when it came to recalling just how she’s long felt about Scooter Braun, who acquired her catalog when his Ithaca Holdings purchased the record company. “I knew he would sell [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein, Katie Holmes, Taylor Swift'The

    Taylor Swift Downplays Association With Harvey Weinstein

    Taylor Swift’s association with disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein was among the topics the singer addressed in a revealing new interview with The Guardian. Weinstein held producer credits for the movies “One Chance” and “The Giver,” both of which featured Swift — in the former, a song, and in the latter, a supporting role. She [...]

  • Tanya Tucker Finds Fresh Footing With

    Album Review: Tanya Tucker's 'While I'm Livin''

    Before there was a name and a place for it, an “outlaw” was what Tanya Tucker was in the years following her gentle country smash with the gospel lilt, “Delta Dawn,” in 1972. A hellraiser and heartbreaker (Merle Haggard and Glen Campbell were just a few of her noted lovers), Tucker made as many headlines [...]

  • A pair of handcuffs

    D.C. Concert Biz Heavyweight Seth Hurwitz Arrested for Solicitation

    Seth Hurwitz, a highly regarded figure in the Washington, D.C. concert scene, was arrested Wednesday on solicitation of prostitution after a massage therapist who felt harassed by Hurwitz helped police set up a bust. Hurwitz, owner of the 9:30 Club and Anthem venues and chairman of the Merriweather Post Pavilion, was released on $5,000 bond [...]

  • Major Lazer Fortnite

    Major Lazer Remixes Fortnite Soundtrack and Releases New In-Game Skins

    Major Lazer, one of Diplo’s many creative outlets, has teamed up with Fortnite to offer fans access to a unique character skin and new remixes of the game’s Default Dance track. The Lazerism set includes the Major Lazer Outfit, Lazer Wings, Lazer Aze, the Lazer Blast emote and the EDM group’s remix of the “Default [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content