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Sandy Gallin, Hollywood agent who guided icons such as Dolly Parton and Michael Jackson, dies at 76

Manager Sandy Gallin in  1999.

Manager Sandy Gallin in  1999.

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

Gallin, who grew up on Long Island, helped manage megastars 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, 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.

Gallin died Friday after a long battle with multiple myeloma, according to close friend Bruce Bozzi. Gallin had cancer and quadruple bypass surgery in 1999.

In Parton, Gallin found a talent, a friend and a business partner. She was a country singer when they met in 1973, and her fame grew as Gallin helped transform her into a star. Their film and production company produced successful movies, several flops and the Oscar-winning AIDS documentary “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt.”

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

In the early ’90s, when Jackson’s image shifted from spectacular to peculiar, Gallin urged the musician to step back into the limelight. Gallin got him booked at a pre-inaugural gala for President-elect Bill Clinton, lined up an interview with Oprah Winfrey and arranged for him to perform the Super Bowl halftime show. Sales for Jackson’s “Dangerous” album — which had been out for months — soared, Gallin said.

When Jackson was accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy, Gallin said his client had been all but crucified by the media.

Born Albert Samuel Gallin on May 23, 1940, he grew up in Brooklyn and then in Lawrence before graduating from Boston University. He landed a job in the mail room at a New York City talent agency, quickly moved up the ranks and began booking for game shows.

Gallin moved to Los Angeles in the ’60s and worked briefly with David Geffen. He formed a management agency with a distant cousin.

To Gallin, coming to L.A. was emancipating. A closeted gay man, he suddenly felt comfortable.

His client list blossomed — Mariah Carey, Paula Abdul, Donny and Marie Osmond, Howie Mandel, Joan Rivers, Olivia Newton-John, Richard Pryor, Whoopi Goldberg.

Gallin told Architectural Digest in 2014 that he started dabbling in real estate in the 1970s to relieve stress.

As with being an agent, Gallin was catering to the rich and temperamental. But with a difference.

“The houses,” he said, “don’t talk back.”With AP


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