Idolmaker Robert Marcucci Dies

(Gibson) Legendary record company owner and talent manager Robert Marcucci died of respiratory complications and severe infections on March 9 at an Ontario, California, hospital, according to The New York Times. He was 81. Credited with molding the careers of teen idols Fabian and Frankie Avalon, Marcucci's life inspired the 1980 movie The Idolmaker.

Born in Philadelphia, Marcucci and songwriting partner Peter DeAngelis started Chancellor Records during the late 1950s. Things really took off when Marcucci discovered Avalon at a nightclub in 1957. He and Angelis even co-wrote the hit song that launched Avalon's career "DeDe Dinah."

"It was the worst song I ever heard in my life," said Marcucci in the 2006 book Great Pretenders: My Strange Love Affair with 50s Pop Music. "I didn't figure it would ever make it." more on this story

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