Former N.W.A. Manager Jerry Heller Dies At 75

The music manager who helped introduce N.W.A. to the masses has died. Jerry Heller was 75 years old.

Photo: Jim Cooper/AP, file
Photographed in New York.

Heller’s cousin, Gary Ballen, says Heller died Friday night in Southern California.

Heller started his career in the 1960s as an agent and promoter, working with such acts as Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye and Creedence Clearwater Revival. He co-founded Ruthless Records with Eazy-E, which released N.W.A.’s seminal album Straight Outta Compton in 1988, launching the West Coast gangsta rap movement. Ruthless was also behind such artists as J.J. Fad, Michel’le and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony.

Heller released “Ruthless: A Memoir” in 2006.

Actor Paul Giamatti played Heller in last year’s hit film “Straight Outta Compton.” Heller sued the film’s producers for defamation after its release, claiming it portrayed him as a villain.