Cher and Joan Rivers' long-time manager Billy Sammeth dies at 66 from pancreatic cancer
For over 20 years, Sammeth was associated with Cher and Rivers, until they decided to fire him - a move that would initiate a lawsuit against the artists over pending commission.
Billy Sammeth, long-time personal manager to Hollywood personalities and who was responsible for the flourishing careers of artists like Cher and Joan Rivers during his time, has died at the age of 66.
The sad news of Sammeth's passing was confirmed by his sister, actress Barbara Sammeth via a blog post, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The entertainment personality was suffering from pancreatic cancer and after losing his cancer battle on Monday, the once-famous celebrity manager passed away at the NewYork-Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center.
Besides managing Cher and Rivers, Sammeth is also said to have worked with other superstars in his days such as Donny Osmond, Olivia Newton-John, Dolly Parton, and K.C. and the Sunshine Band.
The Brooklyn-born manager found his foothold in showbiz sometime around 1973, even though his career had (sort of) begun by the time he was 18. In the initial days, in fact, Sammeth was tasked with writing press releases for Donny Osmond and The Osmond Brothers - a stint that eventually saw him managing several other business affairs for the former teen idol.
Later on, Sammeth would move on to work for Sandy Gallin, American producer and talent manager who has honed many a Hollywood superstar. This experience with Gallin encouraged Sammeth to start out on his own, creating The Bill Sammeth Organization in 1983. The company was responsible for shepherding the career of several artists, some of whom followed the manager in his independent pursuit as well.
For over 20 years, Sammeth was associated with Cher and Rivers, until both the stars decided to fire him - a move that would initiate a lawsuit against the artists over pending commissions.
“You know when you're 4 or 5 years old and you’re holding the leash of a German Shepherd and the dog is dragging you down the street but you think that you're in control because you’re holding the leash?” Sammeth told had told the Daily Beast in a past interview. “That's what managing Cher was like.”
During the candid chat, Sammeth also talked about the experience of managing Rivers and his ultimate fallout with the star.
"Five days after she [The Celebrity Apprentice], I got an email from her business manager telling me I was fired and that she was moving in a new direction. It was as if she were telling me, this is your punishment for embarrassing me to the holy and high one, Donald Trump..."