Hollywood pays tribute to prolific producer Craig Zadan
Posted August 22, 2018 9:37 a.m. EDT
(CNN) — Craig Zadan, a producer whose love for musical theater powered films like "Chicago" and led to the rebirth of the live TV musical, is being remembered for his many accomplishments by some of Hollywood's most notable names in light of news of his sudden death.
NBC president Bob Greenblatt confirmed the news of Zadan's death in a statement issued Tuesday. Zadan died from complications following shoulder replacement surgery, Greenblatt said.
"Craig's distinguished career as a passionate and consummate producer is eclipsed only by his genuine love for the thousands of actors, directors, writers, musicians, designers, and technicians he worked with over the years," Greenblatt said. "His absence will be felt in our hearts and throughout our business."
In the hours following the news, that proved to be true.
Zadan and his producing partner Neil Meron are a beloved duo in the industry after years of work in TV, film and theater.
Zadan's notable TV credits stretch back to the '90s, when he and Meron brought to the small screen music-infused TV movies like "Cinderella" starring Whitney Houston and "Annie." In recent years, Zadan and Meron ushered in a new era of musical television with live musicals for NBC, including "The Wiz" and "The Sound of Music."
Their latest effort, "Jesus Christ Superstar in Concert," was nominated for 13 Emmy awards last month.
John Legend, who starred in the production, called Zadan "a wonderful producer and a lovely man" in a statement on Twitter.
Zadan and Meron were also behind NBC's cult favorite musical drama, "Smash."
The star of that series, Debra Messing, remembered her time on the show as "one of the most meaningful professional experiences in my career" in a tribute to Zadan posted to Instagram.
"They brought the magic of Broadway to prime time television with SMASH, and for 2 years I felt like I was living in a dream." she wrote. "I loved it. And I loved Craig for his passion, and heart, and absolute belief in the endeavor."
Zadan and Meron also produced films like "Chicago," the remakes of "Hairspray" and "Footloose," and three Oscars telecasts in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
"I'm stunned and saddened the unexpected passing of Craig Zadan," actor Neil Patrick Harris wrote on Twitter. "He's been a friend my entire adult life, championed me to host the Oscars, brought musical theatre back to TV. A wonderful, kind spirit."
"He had music and dance in his soul," actor Kevin Bacon added. "And when people are dancing and singing the world is a better place. RIP Craig and Cut Loose!"
Zadan and Meron had a number of projects in the works with NBC at the time of Zadan's death, including live productions of "Bye Bye Birdie" with Jennifer Lopez and "Hair."