Jerry Heller, music veteran and N.W.A’s original manager, has died at the age of 75. He was best known for managing N.W.A and Eazy-E. He rose to prominence in the 1960s and ’70s, importing Elton John and Pink Floyd for their first major American tours, and representing Journey, Marvin Gaye, Joan Armatrading, Van Morrison, War, Average White Band, ELO, Eric Burdon, Crosby Stills and Nash, Ike & Tina Turner, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Otis Redding, The Who, Grand Funk Railroad, Black Sabbath, Humble Pie, Styx, REO Speedwagon, Four Tops, Dr. John, Jose Feliciano, The Grass Roots, and The Standells, among many others. In the mid-1980s he worked with R&B and hip hop acts like Michel’le, World Class Wreckin’ Cru, J.J. Fad, The D.O.C., Egyptian Lover and L.A. Dream Team.
Heller played a role in the emergence of West Coast rap music when he cofounded Ruthless Records with Eazy-E and discovered, signed, or managed the likes of N.W.A, The Black Eyed Peas, Above the Law, The D.O.C., and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.
In October 2015, he filed a lawsuit against several members of N.W.A, NBCUniversal, and others involved in the production of the biopic Straight Outta Compton. He also filed lawsuits against rappers Dr. Dre and Ice Cube. The lawsuit claimed,
the film is littered with false statements that harm the reputation of (Heller) and aim to ridicule and lower him in the opinion of the community and to deter third persons from associating or dealing with him.
Producers for the film, which include Ice Cube and Dr Dre, filed a countersuit in February 2016 to have portions of the Heller suit thrown out. In June 2016, U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald dismissed nearly all of Jerry Heller’s lawsuit, but agreed to allow one key claim to continue. No further details about his death have yet been released.