Mercury Records co-founder Irving Green, who helped break the industry's color barrier by promoting artists like Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and the Platters, died on Saturday (July 1). He was 90.

Mercury Records co-founder Irving Green, who helped break the industry's color barrier by promoting artists like Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and the Platters, died on Saturday (July 1). He was 90.

His grandson Jonathan Ross said Green died of natural causes.

In 1945, Green founded Mercury along with Berle Adams and Arthur Talmadge and helped turn the independent outfit into a major label. In 1964, Mercury became the first major label to have a high-level executive who was black when Green hired the trumpeter Quincy Jones as vice president.

After Mercury was sold to Polygram Records, in the mid-1970's, Green turned to land development, building hundreds of homes in Iran. After the 1979 Iranian revolution, he became a developer in Palm Springs.

Green is survived by his wife, Pamela; two daughters, Kelli and Roberta; three grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

AP LogoCopyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.