7:00am PT by Chris Gardner
How Oscar Producer Neil Meron Is "Adjusting" After Collaborator Craig Zadan's Death
Craig Zadan died suddenly Aug. 20 due to complications from shoulder replacement surgery, and Neil Meron told The Hollywood Reporter after the Sept. 17 Emmys that he’s “still adjusting” to life without his longtime producing partner and close friend. “What puts a smile on my face? Thinking of him and how much he would’ve loved getting that Emmy [for Jesus Christ Superstar] and how much he would’ve just loved that after 16 nominations. He would’ve been very, very happy, so that makes me happy.”
Meron, 62, said he’s also keeping his mind busy thinking about their collaborations that he’d like to see cross the finish line. Up first is NBC’s live musical adaptation of Hair, which will debut in May and on which he's working closely with former NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt. Sources say their longtime collaboration could turn into something more permanent.
Another project is a feature film at Fox inspired by the life of Hans Christian Andersen. “The first draft came in shortly after Craig passed away, and I think he would’ve been very happy,” Meron said of the David Magee-penned project for which Stephen Schwartz will provide the score and serve as a producer.
Aside from the work, what’s keeping Meron going is the outpouring of well-wishes he received. “I’m literally overwhelmed by people’s love and the energy and their feelings about Craig, and that has made me feel so much better knowing the impact that he’s had.”
A version of this story first appeared in the Oct. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.