Dick Alen Retires

Dick Alen, the Diehard battery of booking agents, has officially announced his retirement as senior VP of William Morris Endeavor.

Alen has been with William Morris for 39 years and has spent 60 years in the entertainment industry. Among the artists Alen signed to WME were Aretha Franklin, Little Richard and Chuck Berry, who has been a client of Alen’s for more than 50 years. He also brought Jose Carreras, Julio Iglesias, Tom Jones and Juanes to the agency and has represented Cheech & Chong, Rod Stewart, Barry White and Enrique Iglesias.

“I have been fortunate to have had an extraordinary front row seat during my 60 years in entertainment,” Alen said in a statement. “I’ve had the privilege of representing the greatest performers of the music world and to be part of several historic moments during the course of my career. It’s been a wonderful journey.

“I look forward to the next chapter,” he added. Alen will now be a consultant to WME as well as an adviser to Aretha Franklin and Chuck Berry.

Alen’s career began in 1952 working at Shaw Artists and handled acts like Fats Domino, Ray Charles, The Clovers and The Orioles. He is considered a pioneer in getting R&B acts on television. His history includes being road manager for Woody Herman and, in 1958, working at Universal Attractions repping acts like James Brown, Dinah Washington and Hank Ballard. He and Jack Bart eventually purchased Universal and signed Solomon Burke, Joe Tex and Johnny Taylor among others.

Some of his memories include, in the early ’60s, the times he “consented” to allow a U.K. act called The Rolling Stones to open up for Chuck Berry and up-and-comers The Beatles to open for Little Richard. He went on to become worldwide head of the music department at William Morris and held the title of senior VP for several years.

“Dick’s contributions to the WME family and the industry as a whole over the past 50 years are immeasurable,” WME Personal Appearance Department chief Peter Grosslight said. “He’s a legend in a class of his own, and it has been an honor and a privilege working alongside him.”