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Died – Loss of life – Obituary : Michael Butler, the millionaire hippie who introduced the musical ‘Hair’ to Broadway, dies #Michael #Butler #millionaire #hippie #introduced #musical #Hair #Broadway #dies



Died – Loss of life – Obituary

Michael Butler, the millionaire hippie who introduced the musical ‘Hair’ to Broadway, dies

Michael Butler, the free-spirited producer who introduced the counterculture musical “Hair” to Broadway, the place it broke norms with its celebration of pot, protest and free love, has died at a nursing facility in Los Angeles.

A self-described bon vivant who stuffed his days with polo matches, romantic involvements, adventuresome enterprise offers and left-leaning political causes, Butler died Nov. 7 at age 96, mentioned Zia Wesley, Butler’s buddy and biographer.

Butler, who’d served as an advisor to President Kennedy, was considering a run in opposition to Everett Dirksen, the gravel-voiced Illinois senator, when he noticed an off-Broadway manufacturing of “Hair.”

“I used to be blown away,” Butler later mentioned. “It was the strongest antiwar assertion I had ever seen.”

Butler instantly gave up his political aspirations, reworked the present’s ebook, added the well-known nude scene, made the ending extra upbeat and almost doubled the variety of songs within the manufacturing. Starting in 1968, the rock musical ran on Broadway for 1,742 performances, spawned greater than two dozen different productions, was nominated for a Tony and gained a Grammy for finest rating. The Los Angeles manufacturing on the Aquarius Theatre ran for 2 years.

In most each method, “Hair” was a full hippie baptism with its psychedelics, tie-dye costumes, tribal gatherings and Age of Aquarius ethos. Theatersgoers had been invited onstage for a be-in finale with the racially built-in solid. Songs reminiscent of “Let the Sunshine in,” “Aquarius” and “Good Morning Starshine” turned anthems for the counterculture motion and the soundtrack turned commonplace in dorm rooms throughout America.

Members of the solid of “Hair” in 1968.

(Ian Tyas / Getty Photos)

“What’s so likable about ‘Hair’? I believe it’s merely that it’s so likable. So new, so contemporary, and so unassuming, even in its pretensions,” wrote Clive Barnes within the New York Occasions.

Because the musical opened throughout the nation, Butler was typically concerned with each manufacturing, sometimes becoming a member of the solid onstage. “I did the nude scene in San Francisco. I used to be residing with two of the solid members,” he advised the Chicago Tribune.

Butler estimated he made $10 million from the musical after which careened by way of the ’70s, an everyday on the social gathering scene, arriving in a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce and flying on a personal jet. He invested in a curler rink, a soccer membership and a reggae band and gave a whole bunch of 1000’s of {dollars} to liberal causes. Arduous to overlook at 6-foot-4 with shoulder-length hair and a bushy mustache, Butler glided simply in a world of Hollywood celebrities, aristocrats and rock stars.

Born Nov. 26, 1926, in Chicago, Butler and his two siblings had been raised in a household of nice wealth. Butler’s father and grandfather based the Chicago suburb of Oak Brook and the tony Oak Brook Polo Membership, which Butler and a sister later managed. He additionally turned a champion-caliber polo participant and traveled the world to attend matches.

Along with his bountiful connections, he walked into politics, serving as a advisor to President Kennedy on the Center East; he additionally managed Illinois Gov. Otto Kerner’s reelection marketing campaign and was a commissioner for the Port of Chicago. Previous to the Democratic Conference in Chicago in 1968, Butler brokered a gathering between Yippie co-founder Abbie Hoffman and Chicago’s mayor, Richard J. Daley, hoping to kind a left-leaning political bloc.

“I advised him that the town ought to smother the Yippies with tender loving kindness,” Butler mentioned he advised Daley. “He determined to go a special method. And what did we get? Richard Nixon.”

With the big success of “Hair,” Butler felt free to again different productions. Some, just like the Lenny Bruce-inspired “Lenny,” labored. Others, such because the Caribbean-hued “Reggae,” didn’t. He additionally helped produce the flower-power movie “You Are What You Eat” and had a small function as a truck driver in “Electra Glide in Blue.”

For years Butler battled his siblings over their father’s fortune, estimated at one time to be as a lot as $100 million, although some mentioned the valuation was far much less. No matter it as soon as was, by 1991 it was principally gone and Butler declared chapter and bought off his possessions to assist cowl his money owed.

“Twenty years in the past,” he advised the New York Occasions, “I had 5 homes, one with 15 bedrooms, however I discovered that possessions are a duty. I wished to reside extra merely. In any case, I constructed my life on nonmaterialism, on `Hair.’”

And “Hair” continued to supply. There was a film and a protracted string of stage revivals. On the time of his loss of life on the Los Angeles Jewish Residence for the Growing older, Butler was working with producers on a up to date manufacturing of the musical, which is ready to open on the El Portal Theatre in North Hollywood subsequent 12 months.

Married thrice, Butler is survived by his son, Adam, grandson, Liam and a sister, Jorie Butler Kent.

Michael Butler, the millionaire hippie who introduced the musical ‘Hair’ to Broadway, dies

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