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Paul Cantor, Agent, Manager and Record Label Exec, Dies at 86

He started out at William Morris and worked at Scepter Records, leading B.J. Thomas to “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head” and managing Dionne Warwick.

Paul Cantor, an agent at William Morris in the 1950s who went on to manage pop stars such as Dionne Warwick and B.J. Thomas, has died. He was 86.

Cantor died Jan. 17 of natural causes at his home in Dana Point, Calif., his son Marc told The Hollywood Reporter.

While working for the famed label Scepter Records, Cantor took a touring Thomas off the road and sent him a plane ticket to Los Angeles to record "Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head" for the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). Ray Stevens had been offered the opportunity but declined.

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Thomas had laryngitis but recorded the song anyway. "Raindrops," written by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, went on to become the title track of Thomas' fifth album while spending four weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and winning an Academy Award.

Cantor also worked with such acts as The Kingsmen, The Shirelles, Chuck Jackson, Ronnie Milsap, The Guess Who, Dick Haymes, Aretha Franklin and Diane Schuur.

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Cantor was at WMA in New York from 1954-61 and at General Artists Corp. (which evolved into ICM) for a year before serving as managing director for Wand Management Corp. (a subsidiary of Scepter) from 1962-71. He ran his own Paul Cantor Enterprises from 1972-2006.

Another son, Brett Cantor, a Chrysalis Music Group A&R executive who was instrumental in the discovery of Rage Against the Machine, died of multiple stab wounds in July 1993.

Twitter: @mikebarnes4