Friends and colleagues of Craig Zadan remembered the prolific producer of musicals, TV shows and movies for his talent in shepherding ambitious productions, for his loyalty and support and for his love of the industry.
Zadan’s death at 69 following complications from shoulder replacement surgery shocked the industry when the news broke Tuesday evening. Zadan and his longtime producing partner Neil Meron were among the industry’s busiest teams, steering numerous projects at any given time including NBC’s next live musical event, “Hair,” slated for 2019. The pair also produced the Oscar telecast for ABC from 2013 to 2015.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt announced Zadan’s death on Tuesday. “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,” Greenblatt said.
Stars who worked with Zadon and Meron over the years took Twitter to hail his memory. John Legend, star of NBC’s “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” Tweeted: “RIP to our friend Craig. He produced ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ with us and also produced the Oscars when Common and I sang ‘Glory’ in front of a replica of the Pettus Bridge. A wonderful producer and a lovely man.”
Neil Patrick Harris considered Zadan “a friend my entire adult life.”
Barbra Streisand called him “a joy to work with.”
Kevin Bacon commended the “Footloose” producer, claiming that Zadan “had music and dance in his soul.”
Michael Chiklis called Zadan “a true gentleman and a thoughtful, sensitive and tremendously talented producer.”
Adam Shankman said he was “so confused and disoriented” after hearing of Zadan’s passing. They worked together on the 2007 remake of “Hairspray.”
“Hamilton” and “Book of Mormon” breakout Rory O’Malley praised Zadan’s contributions to musical theater on Twitter: “I’m absolutely shocked to hear that Craig Zadan has passed away. He dedicated his life to bringing musical theater to the masses and succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest dreams.”
Donna Murphy, who is currently appearing in “Hello, Dolly!” on Broadway, recalled Zadan as “such a passionate & committed man.”
The Academy pointed to Zadan’s “spirit” in paying tribute.
GLAAD remembered honoring Zadan in 2012 for “accelerating acceptance for LGBTQ people through his work. Our love goes out to his partner Elwood Hopkins and his producing partner Neil Meron.
The Tony Awards also paid their respects to the Tony nominee.
Among others who remembered Zadan were Katie Couric, Sean Hayes, Barbra Streisand, and David Alan Grier.