Jerry Heller, former NWA manager, dead at 75

In this Aug. 14, 2006 file photo, music industry veteran Jerry Heller is photographed in New York's Central Park. AP Photo/Jim Cooper

LOS ANGELES – The music manager who helped introduce N.W.A. to the masses has died. Jerry Heller was 75 years old.

Heller’s cousin, Gary Ballen, says Heller died Friday night in Southern California.

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Heller started his career in the 1960s as an agent and promoter, working with such acts as Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye and Creedence Clearwater Revival. He co-founded Ruthless Records with Eazy-E, which released N.W.A.’s seminal album “Straight Outta Compton” in 1988, launching the West Coast gangsta rap movement. Ruthless was also behind such artists as J.J. Fad, Michel’le and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

Heller released “Ruthless: A Memoir” in 2006.

Actor Paul Giamatti played Heller in last year’s hit film “Straight Outta Compton.” Heller sued the film’s producers for defamation after its release, claiming it portrayed him as a villain.


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