Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hollywood agent who guided Michael Jackson, many others

- By Steve Marble

Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES — Sandy Gallin, a Hollywood agent and manager who guided the careers of Dolly Parton and other celebritie­s and helped steer Michael Jackson through scandal and career crisis, has died at the age of 76.

During his peak, Mr. Gallin helped manage the careers of dozens of stars, including Cher, Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand. He also partnered in the production of movies such as “Father of the Bride” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”

After walking away from his career as an agent in the late ’90s, Mr. Gallin discovered that real estate was nearly as seductive and rewarding a commodity as celebrity, and he forged a second career as a designer of luxury homes.

His death Friday was announced on Instagram by longtime friend Bruce Bozzi. A cause of death was not released, but he had battled cancer and had quadruple bypass surgery in 1999.

In Ms. Parton, Mr. Gallin found a talent, a friend and an eventual business partner. She was a country singer when they met in 1973, and her fame grew as Mr. Gallin helped transform her into a mainstream star. They formed the film and production company Sandollar Production­s — a mashup of their first names — which produced a string of successful movies, several flops and the Oscarwinni­ng AIDS documentar­y “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt.”

But Jackson was Mr. Gallin’s highest-profile client and — at intervals — his biggest headache.

In the early ’90s, when Jackson’s career was cooling and his public image had shifted from special and spectacula­r to peculiar and weird, Mr. Gallin urged the musician to harness his shyness and step back into the limelight. Mr. Gallin got him booked at a pre-inaugural gala for President-elect Bill Clinton, lined up a televised interview with Oprah Winfrey, and arranged for him to perform the halftime show at the Super Bowl.

The results, Mr. Gallin said, were immediate. He said sales for Jackson’s “Dangerous” album — which had been out for months — soared as the album roared back up the charts.

When Jackson was later accused of molesting a 13year-old boy, Mr. Gallin nearly bristled with fury. He said his client had been all but crucified by the media.

“Michael’s innocent, open, childlike relationsh­ip with children may appear bizarre and strange to adults in our society who cannot conceive of any relationsh­ip without connotatio­ns,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 1994. “This is not a reflection of Michael’s character; rather it is a symptom of the sexual phobias of our society.”

Born Albert Samuel Gallin on May 23, 1940, he grew up in Brooklyn and then on Long Island before graduating from Boston University.

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