Faye Treadwell, Former Manager of the Drifters, Dies at 84

Pioneering African-American female exec won trademark legal battle.

Faye Treadwell, who as manager of R&B legends the Drifters in the late 1960s became one of the first female African-American entertainment managers in show business, died May 22 at her home in Burbank. She was 84.

Treadwell died after a long illness, according to her daughter, Tina Treadwell, president of Treadwell Entertainment and a former vp at the Disney Channel.

After the 1967 death of her husband George Treadwell — who gained control of the Drifters by buying the share held by original member Clyde McPhatter — Faye Treadwell bought out her late husband’s former business partners and assumed management and control of the group.

The Drifters formed in 1953 and over the years have split into several splinter groups, continuing to perform today. Their hits include “There Goes My Baby,” “This Magic Moment,” “Under the Boardwalk,” “Save the Last Dance for Me,” “Up on the Roof” and “Come on Over to My Place.” Ben E. King performed with the “New Drifters” for a year in the late 1950s.

Faye Treadwell took the Drifters to London in the 1970s and in 2006 won a legal battle to keep control of the group’s trademark. She was based in the English capital for more than 30 years and also had a home in Englewood, N.J. 

In addition to Tina, survivors include her 107-year-old mother, Sara Mae Johnson, and sisters Imogene Azora and Saundra Arterberry.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Alzheimer's Foundation of America and/or the Rhythm & Blues Foundation.

Funeral services will be held in Pasadena and Englewood.