Ron Oberman, a senior record executive and former publicist to David Bowie and Bruce Springsteen, died Thursday in his Spanish Springs, Nevada, home after battling FTD (Frontal Temporal Degeneration) disease, a family spokesperson confirmed. He was 76.
Oberman was best known for developing and furthering the careers of international music artists such as Bowie, Bruce Springsteen, The Bangles, Toad the Wet Sprocket, Warrant, Wilderness Road, Martika and more. He also worked with the Beatles and Mick Jagger.
Born on Aug. 28, 1943, in Baltimore, Oberman began his career as a writer for a weekly column called “Teen to Teen” at The Evening Star Newspaper in Washington, D.C.
He later worked in the A&R department of Mercury Records, where he developed and introduced the then-unknown Bowie, and subsequently served as Bowie’s North American publicist. Columbia Records eventually signed Oberman as head of its A&R department. Apart from Bowie, Oberman helped save Springsteen from being dropped by Columbia after writing a letter to the head of the label, pleading to give the singer-songwriter another chance.
Oberman stayed with Columbia for 25 years, and then moved to become the head of MCA Records’ A&R department, where he discovered and signed the Bangles.
“Besides his incredible musical talent, Ron was known to all as a wonderful and fun friend. He had an infectious smile that immediately made people feel that they had known him all their lives — and a truly great sense of humor,” a family spokesperson said.
Oberman is survived by his wife, Amber DiLena. In lieu of flowers, DiLena asks that donations be made to The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration to help fund research in discovering a cure for the disease.
This article was originally published by The Hollywood Reporter.