Gladys Nederlander, 83, Show Producer, Is Dead

July 22, 2008

By BRUCE WEBER

Gladys Nederlander, a theater and television producer, died on Monday in New York. She was 83 and lived in Manhattan, Palm Beach, Fla., and East Hampton, N.Y.

The cause was heart failure, said her husband, the theater owner and producer Robert E. Nederlander.

Mrs. Nederlander was a producer of nine Broadway shows between 1976 and 1993, most notably of a revival of “West Side Story” in 1980. The musical, written by Steven Sondheim, Arthur Laurents and Leonard Bernstein, is set for a Broadway run in 2009; it will be the first revival since the 1980 show.

Mrs. Nederlander produced under her former married name, Gladys Rackmil, in partnership with Mr. Nederlander and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Her other efforts, often with big-name stars — including “Death and the Maiden,” with Gene Hackman, Glenn Close and Richard Dreyfus; Shaw’s “Caesar and Cleopatra,” with Rex Harrison and Elizabeth Ashley; and a musical adaptation of Neil Simon‘s “Goodbye Girl,” with Martin Short and Bernadette Peters — never caught on with audiences.

Gladys Lenore Blum was born in New York City on Nov. 14, 1925; her parents, Gaston, an Englishman who worked in advertising, and Sherry, who was from Romania, moved to the United States, first to Manhattan and then, while Gladys was very young, to Chicago. After Gaston’s death, his wife moved the family to southern California.

Gladys’s first job in the entertainment business was on the staff of “Queen for a Day,” a 1940s radio game show — it transferred to television in 1956 — in which women competed for prizes by telling sad tales about their lives.

In 1945, she married Fred Stryker, a songwriter; during their 10-year marriage, which ended in divorce, they had two children, who survive her: Steven Stryker, of Rockville, Md., and Teri Ann Stryker, of Palo Alto, Calif. In addition to Mr. Nederlander, Mrs. Nederlander is also survived by a grandson.

In the early 1960s, while she was living in Palm Springs, Calif., running a clothing store and interviewing celebrities on a local radio station, Mrs. Nederlander met Milton Rackmil, the founder of Decca Records and the president of Universal Pictures. They married in 1963 and divorced in 1973.

It was shortly thereafter that she began her producing career, working with Roger L. Stevens at the Kennedy Center. In 1982 she became executive producer for Nederlander Television and Film Productions, turning out movies for television, including “A Case of Libel,” with Edward Asner and Daniel J. Travanti, and “Intimate Strangers” with Stacy Keach, as well as a series of 14 one-act plays by the likes of Arthur Miller and Robert Anderson for the Arts & Entertainment cable network.

It was in that job that she met Mr. Nederlander.

“I hired her,” he said.

New York Times 


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