Bozo creator, music exec Alan Livingston dies at 91

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Alan W. Livingston, who created the character of Bozo the Clown and signed the Beatles to a contract at Capitol Records during a long and multifaceted show business career, died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 91.

Livingston, who was married to actress Betty Hutton in the late 1950s and to actress Nancy Olson since 1962, also produced NBC’s “Bonanza”; wrote the 1951 pop hit “I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat” for Mel Blanc’s Tweety Pie; signed and paired Frank Sinatra with bandleader Nelson Riddle during a low point in Sinatra’s career; and served as president of the entertainment group at 20th Century Fox.

Livingston started out by writing children’s albums at Capitol and created Bozo in 1946 for a popular series of storytelling record albums and illustrative read-along book sets.

As he moved up at Capitol, Livingston got a reluctant Sinatra to agree to a session with Riddle in 1953. The pair produced the classics “I’ve Got the World on a String” and later “Young at Heart,” a defining moment in Sinatra’s comeback in the mid-1950s.

Livingston left Capitol for the position of president of California National Prods., a film production subsidiary of NBC, where he was later named a vice president in charge of programing. He hired David Dortort to write and produce the pilot for “Bonanza” and got his older brother, Jay Livingston, to write the memorable theme music.

Livingston returned to Capitol Records, where he became president. He helped turn the company toward rock with such acts as the Beach Boys, Steve Miller and the Band.

After having rejected all the Beatles’ previous singles as unsuitable for the U.S. market -- despite Capitol being owned by EMI, the Beatles’ U.K. record company -- Livingston agreed to release “I Want to Hold Your Hand” for Capitol in 1963 and brought them to the States in 1964.

Livingston formed his own company, Mediarts Inc., for the production of movies, records and music publishing, then joined Fox.

In addition to Olson, Livingston is survived by one son, one daughter, two step-daughters, three grandchildren and three step-grandchildren.