Neil E. Bogart (February 3, 1943 – May 8, 1982) was an American record executive. He is perhaps best known as the founder of Casablanca Records (which later became Casablanca Record and Filmworks, with Peter Guber).
Life and career
Bogart was born in New York City, and grew up in the Glenwood Houses, the housing projects in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn. He was a singer in the 1960s, using the name Neil Scott, prior to running the Michigan offices of Cameo-Parkway Records. After Cameo-Parkway was shut down by the government for stock fraud in 1968, Bogart became an executive at Buddah Records. He is credited with being a key player in the rise of bubblegum pop music during his time working at Cameo-Parkway and Buddha.
He started Casablanca in 1973 when he first signed KISS and later became identified with the rise of disco by promoting the career of acts such as Donna Summer and the Village People (the Casablanca roster also contained rock acts such as T.Rex, Fanny and The Hudson Brothers, but the label became best known for its disco product). The label was also known for tapping into the funk market with the signing of George Clinton's Parliament in 1974.
He died of cancer and lymphoma at age 39. Shortly before his death, he founded Boardwalk Records, and jumped on the new wave bandwagon as disco was in decline. Joan Jett and Harry Chapin were among his last signings.
He was interred at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California. His death inspired the formation of the T.J. Martell Foundation for the assistance of cancer stricken children. His wife, Joyce Bogart-Trabulus, teamed with songwriter Carole Bayer Sager and founded the Neil Bogart Memorial Fund (now the Bogart Pediatric Cancer Research Program) in 1983. In 1984, the fund established its laboratories at the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles.
The KISS album Creatures of the Night was dedicated to the memory of Bogart (the dedication is found on the back cover of the original vinyl release of the album near the bottom [Casablanca Records NBLP-7270]. The dedication is also found on the CD release on the inside of the insert where the credits are located [Casablanca Records/Mercury 314-532-391-2]. The dedication simply states "Neil Bogart 1943-1982").
Donna Summer's self-titled album from 1982 was also dedicated to Bogart's memory and the liner notes contain one of his favorite sayings, "Why head for the mountaintop when you're reaching for the sky?"
In the 1980 film Can't Stop the Music, actor Paul Sand plays a record executive loosely based on Bogart.
In 2013, Justin Timberlake signed to star in the feature film Spinning Gold, a biopic of Bogart written by his son, Tim Bogart.
Going Platinum, a book about Bogart, was due to be published in November 2014. It is written by his nephew Brett Ermilio and published by Globe Pequot Press.
Bogart's children are Jylle Bogart Barker, Timothy Scott Bogart, Bradley Bogart, and Evan "Kidd" Bogart who is a songwriter in Los Angeles.
1. Dannen, Fredric (2011-09-14). Hit Men: Power Brokers and Fast Money Inside the Music Business. Random House Digital, Inc. pp. 231–. ISBN 9780307802088.
2. Griffin, Nancy; Masters, Kim (1997-06-17). Hit and Run. Simon and Schuster. pp. 87–. ISBN 9780684832661.
3. Battan, Carrie. "Justin Timberlake to Star as Casablanca Records' Neil Bogart in Biopic". Pitchfork.