Childhood & Early Life
Born in Chicago, Illinois on May 27th 1937, he was the only child born to his parents, who divorced when the boy reached his early teens. His father was a furniture dealer who made lots of profits through his business.
Allan studied at the ‘Lake Forest College’ and later went to the ‘Northwestern University’. During his time at the ‘Lake Forest College’, Allan took to his calling and went on to start his own theatre. He rented the Civic Theatre and some of the first productions were the Bette Davis and Gary Merrill starrer ‘The world of Carl Sandburg’, ‘Mary Stuart’ - an acclaimed work which was directed by Sir Tyrone Guthrie and Tennessee Williams's play 'Garden District'
He later discontinued his studies to pursue a career in the showbiz industry, which had always fascinated him. He then got his name changed from Allan Solomon to his Allan Carr at around the same time.
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The teenager started working at the ‘Chicago Symphony’, lent a hand at his father’s furniture store and also did a stint as a skip tracer in a financial firm, during his teen years.
The showbiz aspirant then took all of his savings and invested a sum of $750 in the ‘Broadway’ show ‘Ziegfeld Follies’, when he was just 18. This show which starred actress Tallulah Bankhead, earned modestly, and was closed before reaching the Broadway.
The showbiz enthusiast next worked for the world-famous adult magazine ‘Playboy’, after being taken under the wings of Hugh Hefner, the publisher of the magazine and a famous business tycoon. Allan helped Hefner with the creation of a television series titled ‘Playboy Penthouse’.
Allan donned the hat of a personal manager in 1966, when he founded the talent management agency ‘Allan Carr Enterprises’. Among the few actors and entertainers in his clientele were Olivia Newton-John, Keir Dullea, Roz Russell, Tony Curtis, Mama Cass Elliott, Marvin Hamlisch, Nancy Walker and ‘Won Ton Ton’, the German Shephard.
This producer was renowned in Hollywood for shaping the career of Ann Margaret, a famous actress and singer of Swedish-American descent. He also produced the 1970 movie ‘C.C. and Company’, featuring her as a fashion journalist.
Carr then worked under producer Robert Stigwood as a marketing and promotion consultant in 1975. The first project he undertook was the movie based on the rock opera named ‘Tommy’, which narrates the story of a boy who is deaf, dumb and blind.
The movie which followed the success of ‘Tommy’ was ‘Survive’ in 1976, which was based on a real life disaster. The Mexican movie was dubbed and re-edited by Carr, and its box-office success brought significant financial gains for him.
In 1977, he was assigned the production of the ad campaign for the dance flick ‘Saturday Night Fever’. The success of the film’s star-studded premiere landed him the production rights for the next ‘Paramount’ production ‘Grease’.
Allan roped in actress Olivia Newton-John, his then client, to play the role of ‘Sandy’ opposite John Travolta in the 1978 movie ‘Grease’. He co-produced this movie and also drafted the screen adaptation of this famous flick, which was based on a musical. The movie went on to become the highest grossing film of the year, a feat which was never achieved previously by an under $100 million movie.
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In 1978, he also appeared in the closing season of the famous television crime series ‘Police Woman’. He even worked with Stigwood on the Oscar winning war drama ‘Deer Hunter’, the same year.
‘Can’t Stop the Music’, the 1980 movie which was based on the American disco group ‘Village People’, was produced by Carr. A lavish premiere was organized for the movie in his signature style, but it didn’t fare well financially.
Unfazed by the poor performance of ‘Can’t Stop the Music’, he produced a sequel to his earlier hit ‘Grease’, in 1982. It didn’t achieve the same amount of success as its predecessor.
Turning his attention towards the issue of homosexuality, Carr produced the musical of the play ‘La Cage aux Folles’, in 1983. The play was a huge success, showcased for five years, and even won the ‘Tony Award’ for Best Musical.
In 1984, Allan was involved in the production of two movies, ‘Where the Boys Are’-a comedy and ‘Cloak and Dagger’-a spy adventure movie.
Riding on his reputation for organising pompous shows, Allan was approached by the ‘Academy Award’ ceremony’s producers to orchestrate the ‘61st Academy Awards’ show in 1989. The show, which attempted to unite the stars of past and present and create a visual timeline, was a major disappointment. The nail in the coffin was the 12 minute long presentation of ‘Proud Mary’ by Eileen Bowman – actress of ‘Snow White’ fame and Rob Lowe. This debacle marked the end of Alan’s career in Hollywood.
Returning to ‘Broadway’ in 1989, the producer worked with Freddie Gershon and ‘CBS Records’ on the musical ‘Goya A Life in Song’. The musical was based on the story of artist Francisco Goya.
In 1995 he went on to sponsor the much noted productions ‘Cyrano de Bergerac’ and ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. The shows earned another ‘Tony Awards’ nomination for Carr.
In 1998, he handled the premiere and launch party for the re-release of the movie ‘Grease’.