Friday, June 20, 2014

Steve Wolf -- Death of a Concert Promoter

Wolf was in his early twenties when he joined former disc jockey and television game show host Bob Eubanks in Concert Associates, a hugely successful concert promotion business based in Southern California.  Though best-known for hosting The Newlywed Game on ABC, Eubanks was a rock concert pioneer who promoted the Beatles show at the Hollywood Bowl in 1964.  When Eubanks left Concert Associates, Wolf and fellow 24-year-old Jim Rissmiller teamed to promote some of the most notable concerts in Los Angeles including the Diana Ross and the Supremes show that sold out the 18,700 seat Forum in Inglewood, California.  The pair later sold the company to Filmways and, reconstituted as Wolf & Rissmiller, became the biggest rock concert promotion firm in California, and one of the largest in the United States, promoting appearances of the Rolling Stones, Cream, and Aerosmith.  Most recently in November 1977, the duo promoted the Los Angeles Philharmonic's "Star Wars Suite" at the Hollywood Bowl.  Producing some 130 concerts a year, Wolf & Rissmiller grossed around $6 million annually.

At approximately 6:00 A.M. on November 21, 1977, the 34-year-old concert promoter was shot to death in the bedroom of his luxury home on Mulholland Drive above Stone Canyon Reservoir in Los Angeles.  Awakened by the sound of a break in, Wolf left his bed and apparently confronted the intruders, possibly as many as four, who had entered the residence through a side door.  Wolf's fiancee, 30-year-old public relations consultant Linda Grey, was also in the home, but did not witness the shooting.  Stolen were two valuable cameras, a wristwatch, and diamond jewelry.  Wolf died three hours later on the operating table at Riverside Hospital in North Hollywood.  That night, a concert by the popular band Chicago promoted by Wolf & Rissmiller played the Forum.  Two days after the murder, Jim Rissmiller offered a $50,000 reward for information leading to the identity of the killer(s).  As detectives continued their investigation, Linda Grey filed a million dollar palimony suit in July 1978 claiming she and Wolf had lived as husband and wife during the eleven months they were together.  According to Grey, she gave up her career as an entertainment publicist on Wolf's promise he would support her for the rest of her life.  The disposition of the case is not known.

More than a year after the concert promoter's murder, authorities caught a break when a 17-year-old in jail on an unrelated burglary charge bragged to another inmate about the killing.  Police arrested the juvenile on December 27, 1978, but did not release his name to the public until after a judge ruled in 1979 that the suspect, Keith Cook, could be tried as an adult.  On April 24, 1979, Cook pleaded out to second-degree murder and was sentenced to seven years.  Cook admitted to being one of the four men who invaded Wolf's home, but denied being the triggerman.  To date, no one else has been arrested for Wolf's murder.

3 comments:

  1. I spent the night at their home the night before the murder. Linda was a close friend.

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  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  3. four burglars entering an occupied residence at night? I have inside information (not from a client) this was a business dispute. I won't be watching the Rose Parade.

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