Dell Furano, chief executive officer, founder, Epic Rights, has died on Sept. 4 after a battle with cancer. He was 71.
Furano was a pioneer in the licensing industry. He co-founded Winterland Productions, the first major concert merchandiser in the industry with concert promoter Bill Graham. Furano has worked with several top concert artists and managers to build high-profile global licensing programs. In 2017, Furano was inducted into the Licensing Hall of Fame.
"I have been honored to work for Dell for the better part of 30 years," says Phil Cussen, president, chief operating officer, Epic Rights. "He was a true visionary – constantly re-inventing our business for changing times while embracing evolving technologies," "Through all the changes, he never lost sight of the artist, their representatives, the fans, our partners and our employees. He had a profound and positive impact on so many lives and careers – he was a very special guy, a true giant among men. I, together with the whole Epic family, am going to miss him dearly. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Kym and the entire Furano family."
Recording artists Furano has worked with included AC/DC, Aerosmith, Barbara Streisand, Billy Joel, Bob Dylan, Britney Spears, Bruce Springsteen, The Beatles, Coldplay, David Bowie, Def Leppard, The Grateful Dead, Fleetwood Mac, John Lennon, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Michael Jackson, NKOTB, Ozzy Osbourne, The Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, The Who, U2 and ZZ Top, among many others.
"We mourn the loss of our friend and partner, Dell Furano, a trailblazer who helped to guide the formation and development of the music merchandise business," says Universal Music Group in a statement. "Dell was a true entrepreneur, and he leaves an enduring legacy. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones."
Several in the licensing industry have paid tribute to Furano this weekend on social media:
"Truly a loss - all too soon. Iconic, bigger than life," says Maura Regan, president, Licensing International.
"I was lucky enough to do many deals with Dell," says Trevor George, co-founder, co-chief executive officer, RECUR. "He was more than a businessman to me; he was a friend and a mentor. Dell is one of the few who had continued vision and he was kind every step of the way."
"Dell was an early supporter of License! magazine when we were just beginning and over the next 20-plus years he offered great counsel," says Steven Ekstract, managing director, Global Licensing Advisors. "Can't imagine a visit to L.A. without lunch with Dell!"
In 2019, Furano was recognized in License Global's annual The Influentials report for his contributions to licensing. He shared his advice for those starting the licensing industry.
"It's a great career choice," said Furano. "The licensing is incredibly strong and had tremendous global growth opportunities."