Stigwood: Producer extraordinaire

BBC News Online profiles theatrical impresario Robert Stigwood, the fifth biggest entertainment earner in the UK.

A pop promoter and film producer, he has been behind some of the biggest stage hits and pop bands in history including the Bee Gees, Cream and The Beatles.

He is consistently listed as one of the richest showbusiness stars in the UK, but unlike multi-millionaires such as Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Mick Jagger he can largely walk down the street unnoticed.

Stigwood started out as an advertising agency copywriter in his native Australia before moving to the UK at the age of 21.

After opening a theatrical agency in London he turned his hand to many careers. As an independent record producer he was credited with the John Leyton hit Johnny Remember Me which topped the charts in the UK for 15 weeks in 1961.

Stigwood went on to forge a partnership with Beatles’ manager Brian Epstein, becoming co-manager of NEMS Enterprises.


Following Epstein’s death in 1967 he formed the Robert Stigwood Organisation (RSO) and promoted acts such as Sir Mick Jagger, Rod Stewart and David Bowie.

He signed up the young Bee Gees when they arrived in the UK from Australia as a budding trio and mastermind their rise to become one of the biggest pop bands in the UK.

Stigwood also guided the career of Cream and the solo success of Eric Clapton after the group split.

His RSO Records label has produced the soundtrack albums to The Empire Strikes Back and the movie musical Fame.

Another career change beckoned in 1968 when he ventured into the world of theatre production, staging Hair in the West End.

He then went on to produce Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, buying up the management rights to the shows rather than the theatrical rights.

Stigwood was instrumental in cracking down on unlicensed performances of Jesus Christ Superstar in the US – including school productions – to ensure profits went into pockets of its creators.

Movie credits

Recent stage productions of Grease and Saturday Night Fever are also produced by Stigwood’s company.

The film world then enticed Stigwood with musical movies his forte.

His producer credits include the hugely successful Tommy, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease and Saturday Night Fever – a showcase for the Bee Gees.

His last producer credit was on the movie musical Evita, which starred Madonna as the Argentinean leader’s wife.

Stigwood remains an influential figure in the musical theatre business and has made his home on the Isle of Wight.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2003/04/25