Before he became a manager to the stars in Hollywood, Howard Lapides may have been best known in Western New York by his radio pseudonym, Michael O'Shea.
Mr. Lapides took the O'Shea name in his early days on WSYL-FM when the station gave him a choice between O'Shea and Roger Christian, Lapides told Buffalo News TV critic Alan Pergament in a 2009 interview.
"I said, 'Being a Jew, Christian would be pushing it,' so I took O'Shea," he told Pergament.
The Kenmore native, who went on to become CEO of Lapides Entertainment, died Thursday in Hollywood. He was 68.
Before leaving Western New York more than three decades ago, Mr. Lapides got his start in radio at age 16, as a post-game host on Buffalo Bills radio broadcasts using his pseudonym.
Mr. Lapides attended Emerson College in Boston, where he produced the top-rated "The Steve Fredericks Show" on WMEX, and also worked weekends on air at WEIM in Fitchburg, Mass. After graduating, he spent the next five years at Baton Broadcasting of Canada before teaming up with concert promoters Michael Cohl and Donald Tarlton, promoting top acts in Canada over the ensuing decade.
From there, Lapides started promoting up-and-coming comedians locally as the owner of Yuk Yuk Comedy Clubs in Buffalo and Rochester.
"It got me close to the comics, and I started managing," Mr. Lapides told Pergament.
His new endeavor necessitated a move to Hollywood.
"I started the business with a piano bench and call waiting," he said in 2009.
"My radio stuff came in handy. I'd just use fake voices when I answered the phone and kept passing the calls to me. I'd answer the call with another voice to make it sound like the company was bigger," he added.
His perseverance and audacity led to managing a variety of TV talk show hosts, authors, comedians and actors.
His client list has included reality TV host Dr. Drew Pinsky, actor Tom Green and TV show hosts Adam Carolla, Carson Daly and Jimmy Kimmel.
In a statement, Pinsky said: "Howard was more than a manager. He was family and I will miss him immensely. He was the architect of everything I've ever done. He was my confidant, champion and protector for the last 25 plus years and I am devastated by this loss."
Mr. Lapides not only managed the talent but was executive producer of VH1's successful "Celebrity Rehab" franchise and was managing partner of Dr. Drew productions. Founded in 2009, the company went on to produce TV pilots for several networks.
He also served as an executive producer for Comedy Central's "The Man Show," starring Carolla and Kimmel, and "Loveline" for MTV. He worked closely with MTV in developing "TRL" for Daly. He also produced Green's feature directorial debut, "Freddy Got Fingered" for New Regency Pictures and Twentieth Century Fox.
Mr. Lapides was nominated for two Cable Ace Awards. He also served on the board of his alma mater, Emerson College.
He is survived by his wife, Maria; a daughter, Olivia; son, Max; a brother, Jeffrey; and sisters, Renee and Sharon.