Frank Dileo, a music industry promoter who spent five years as Michael Jackson's manager after the release of his "Thriller" album then briefly rejoined him before the pop star's death in 2009, has died. He was 63.
Dileo died Wednesday at a hospital in Boardman, Ohio, of complications from heart surgery that he underwent six months ago, publicist Karen Sundell said.
Often described as a colorful, cigar-smoking character, Dileo was vice president of promotion for Epic Records when he became Jackson's manager in 1984.
"Thriller" was released in late 1982, and Dileo is credited with helping drive sales of the album past 29 million. He pushed for the concurrent release of the singles "Billie Jean" and "Beat It," both of which reached No. 1 on the pop charts. As Jackson's manager, Dileo oversaw two concert tours, executive-produced the singer's 1988 "Moonwalker" film and produced his soft-drink commercials.
Jackson fired Dileo in 1989 after an apparent falling-out, then rehired him in 2009 when Jackson was preparing for his "This Is It" tour. Dileo was at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center when doctors declared the pop star dead at age 50 on June 25, 2009.
Born in Pittsburgh in 1947, Dileo got his start in the music business as a salesman for CBS Records in the late 1960s. He switched to working in promotion at Epic, a CBS subsidiary, then went to RCA and Arista before returning to Epic in 1979.
During the 1990s he ran a management and consulting firm and had bit acting parts in movies, including "Goodfellas" and the "Wayne's World" films.
Dileo is survived by his wife, Linda; a daughter, Belinda; a son, Dominic, and a grandson, Frank.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun