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James M. Nederlander

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] He was a 10 time Tony Award winner and was nominated for 27 Tony Awards.[6]

James M. Nederlander
Born(1922-03-31)March 31, 1922
DiedJuly 25, 2016(2016-07-25) (aged 94)
OccupationLive theater owner and operator
Known forChairman of the Nederlander Organization
Spouse(s)Barbara Smith (divorced)
Charlene Saunders
ChildrenJames L. Nederlander (with Barbara)
Parent(s)Sarah Applebaum
David T. Nederlander
FamilyHarry Jay Nederlander (brother)
Robert Nederlander (brother)
Fred Nederlander (brother)
Joseph Z. Nederlander (brother)
Frances Nederlander Kohn (sister)

Early life and educationEdit

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,[7] 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 owner, of the three companies that dominate Broadway after the Shubert Organization (which owns sixteen theaters) and ahead of Jujamcyn (which owns five). The Nederlander Organization owns a larger number of theater houses than the others with an additional fifteen theaters nationwide.[3] They are the only one of the three that is still run by its owners.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Nederlander was married twice. His first wife was Barbara Smith[8][9] with whom he has a son, James L. Nederlander.[3] In 1969, he married his second wife Charlene Saunders (born 1934).[10]


  1. ^ a b c d e f McG. Thomas Jr., Robert (August 16, 1990). "From Broadway to the Bronx; Robert Nederlander Brings Low-Key Management Style to the Yankees — New York Times". Retrieved 2012-09-12.
  2. ^ Nederlander Organization: Our Team - James M. Nederlander retrieved August 4, 2013
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i New York Magazine: "Jimmy Nederlander's Endless Run" By Eric Konigsberg retrieved August 3, 2013
  4. ^ "James M. Nederlander Biography (1922-)". filmreference. Retrieved 21 May 2015.
  5. ^ "James M. Nederlander dies at 94". NY Post. Archived from the original on 26 July 2016. Retrieved 26 July 2016.
  6. ^ "James M. Nederlander Awards". Internet Broadway Database. Retrieved 2019-09-01.
  7. ^ Kennedy, Mark (26 July 2016). "James M. Nederlander, theater impresario, dies at 94". Washington Post.
  8. ^ New York Times: "Paid Notice: Deaths NEDERLANDER, BARBARA S" September 13, 2010
  9. ^ copy of New York Times obituary September 13, 2010 retrieved August 7, 2013
  10. ^ South Florida South Florida Real Estate News: "South Florida Real Estate News: "Theater owner-producer buys Palm Beach 4BD for $5.5M" by Ross Franco March 8, 2007

External linksEdit