James M. Nederlander

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James M. Nederlander
Born (1922-03-31)March 31, 1922
Detroit, Michigan
Died July 25, 2016(2016-07-25) (aged 94)
New York City
Occupation Live theater owner and operator
Known for Chairman of the Nederlander Organization
Spouse(s) Barbara Smith (divorced)
Charlene Saunders
Children James L. Nederlander (with Barbara)
Parent(s) Sarah Applebaum
David T. Nederlander
Family Harry Jay Nederlander (brother)
Robert Nederlander (brother)
Fred Nederlander (brother)
Joseph Nederlander (brother)
Frances Nederlander Kohn (sister)

James M. Nederlander (March 31, 1922 – July 25, 2016)[1] was chairman of the Nederlander Organization,[2] one of the largest live theater owners and producers in the United States.[3][4][5]

Early life and education[edit]

Nederlander was born to a Jewish[3] family in Detroit, Michigan, one of six children of Sarah (née Applebaum) and David T. "D.T." Nederlander.[1][3] His father bought his first live theater in 1905, the Fisher Theater in Detroit (which is still owned by the family) and founded the family company, the Nederlander Organization.[1] He has four brothers: Harry, Robert, Fred, and Joseph; and one sister, Frances.[1]


Jimmy was the first of the brothers to go into the family business.[3] He dropped out of the pre-law program at the Detroit Institute of Technology, took a job in the box office of the Lafayette Theater, and then worked as the treasurer in the traveling Air Force production of Moss Hart's Winged Victory which played on Broadway where he made valuable connections. After his father's death in the 1960s, the Nederlander brothers continued to purchase theaters[1] expanding nationally with Jimmy moving to New York City, Harry to San Francisco, and Joey remaining in Detroit.[3] Their largest rivals were the Shubert family, the founders of Broadway theatre district in New York City. From 1965 to 1985, Jimmy purchased ten theaters in New York City and produced hundreds of plays forming close relationships with producers David Merrick, Alexander H. Cohen, and Emanuel Azenberg.[3] In 1973, Nederlander and his brothers joined with George Steinbrenner as limited partners when Steinbrenner purchased the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball.[1]

The Nederlander Organization controls nine Broadway theaters and is the second-largest of the three companies that dominate Broadway after the Shubert Organization (which owns sixteen theaters) and ahead of Jujamcyn (which owns five). On a global scale, The Nederlander Organization is larger with an additional fifteen theaters nationwide.[3] They are the only one of the three that is still run by its owners.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Nederlander was married twice. His first wife was Barbara Smith[6][7] with whom he has a son, James L. Nederlander.[3] In 1969, he married his second wife Charlene Saunders (born 1934).[8]


External links[edit]