Legendary Agent Dick Alen Passes At 89

Dick Alen – Dick Alen
Rock And Roll Hall of Fame Inteview

Dick Alen, the legendary agent who represented such seminal artists as Little Richard, Chuck Berry and Aretha Franklin, died Nov. 27 of reported natural causes. He was 89.

Alen was with William Morris for 39 years and spent more than 60 years in the entertainment industry before retiring in 2010. He continued as a consultant for WME as well as for Universal Attractions Agency, which he and Jack Bart had purchased in the early 1960s before selling in 1971 to move to California and WME. He also continued to advise Franklin and Berry after his retirement.  
Alen started at Shaw Artists in 1952, handling artists including Fats Domino, Ray Charles, The Clovers and The Orioles. He moved on to UAA where, by 1958, he represented James Brown, Dinah Washington and Hank Ballard, among others and where, notably, he also agreed to book emerging English acts The Rolling Stones and The Beatles to open for Chuck Berry and Little Richard, respectively.
Joining WME in 1971, he eventually became a senior VP and spent five years as head of the agency’s music department. During that time, he brought in more Latin, country and Christian artists on board, including Jose Carreras, Julio Iglesias, Tom Jones and Juanes. 
He also at points in his career represented Cheech & Chong, Rod Stewart, Barry White and Enrique Iglesias. 
Alen spoke with Pollstar when he retired, saying, “There’s no list of things you won’t miss. When you’re in a service business, working for artists, which I’ve done for the last number of years, you get every kind of question – sweet and dumb and nasty – you just deal with it. You don’t think about it. You just try to make sure your artist is not affected by what you’re doing. You just make sure it doesn’t bother you. If you do, you go crazy. That’s when people burn out and say they have to leave the business. I had to leave the business because I got old!”
UAA co-owner Jeff Epstein said of Alen, “We lost another great one. Dick was one of UAA’s first notable agents and a great friend to us throughout the years. We are heartbroken and you will be missed. Rest in peace, Dick.”