Elliot Roberts, Manager of Rock Stars, Is Dead at 76


In 1971, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Geffen founded Asylum Records, and many of the artists on the label’s early roster, like the Eagles and Mr. Browne, were managed by the company the two men had set up, Geffen-Roberts.

While Mr. Geffen became known as a shrewd if ruthless mogul-in-training, Mr. Roberts took part in the rock ′n’ roll lifestyle of his clients. Mr. Crosby once described him in a Rolling Stone interview as “a cat who is like us.”

Yet within the business Mr. Roberts also had a reputation for vigorous advocacy on behalf of his clients. That included taking advantage of the uncertainty following a corporate regime change at Warner Communications in the mid-1990s to secure a $25 million deal for Mr. Young, according to “Exploding: The Highs, Hits, Heroes, and Hustlers of the Warner Music Group,” a 2002 book by Stan Cornyn, a former Warner Bros. executive.

“Elliot Roberts was probably the kindest, gentlest, and far and away the funniest man I ever worked with in show business,” Mr. Stills said in a statement. “He was also tough as a barbed-wire fence, fiercely loyal and keenly observant.”

Mr. Roberts was born Elliot Rabinowitz in the Bronx on Feb. 25, 1943. By his early 20s he was climbing the lower rungs of the entertainment business. He worked in the mail room of the William Morris Agency in New York, where he met Mr. Geffen, then a young agent. He also managed a rock band, Robert’s Rules of Order, around this time. He changed his legal name to Elliot Roberts in 1967.

He is survived by his sons Jason, Ethan, Matthew and Zackary, and by his partner, Dana Fineman.

Mr. Roberts’s management partnership with Mr. Geffen had dissolved by the mid-1970s. Asylum had been sold to Warner Bros., and Mr. Geffen had sold his shares in the Geffen-Roberts management company to Mr. Roberts.

Mr. Roberts represented Ms. Mitchell until 1985, and at points in the 1970s and ’80s he worked with Tom Petty, Devo, the Cars, Yes, Ms. Chapman and Bob Dylan. More recently, he and his company, Lookout, represented Spiritualized, Mazzy Star and Devendra Banhart.

But Mr. Roberts never stopped working with Mr. Young.

“He was my best friend in the world for so many years,” Mr. Young wrote in his tribute.

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