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Liza Minnelli & Judy Garland historian, reissue co-producer Scott Schechter dies of apparent heart attack at 48

Scott Schechter, Liza Minnelli’s webmaster who co-produced many album and DVD reissues of Judy Garland’s and Minnelli’s work (including Liza Minnelli: The Complete A&M Recordings), died suddenly late May 14 in New York City. He was 48.

Here’s Schechter’s bio on Liza’s website:

Scott Schechter
Director of OfficialLizaMinnelli.com

scottwithlizaScott Schechter is an award-winning author, historian and producer, who has consulted on and written for a multitude of media projects on Liza and her mother, including the CDs Liza Minnelli: The Complete Capitol Collection, the Judy box set, Classic Judy Garland: The Capitol Years 1955-1965, The Judy Garland Show: The Show That Got Away and Liza Minnelli: Ultimate Collection. Schechter was among those responsible for the release of Garland’s complete Carnegie Hall concert for the first time, available as Judy at Carnegie Hall: Fortieth Anniversary Edition, and back in 1998 he created the concept of there being DVDs of her legendary long-lost CBS variety series. Schechter is the author of the world’s first book to concentrate on Liza’s extensive body of work -- the critically acclaimed book on Minnelli's career, The Liza Minnelli Scrapbook. For more information, visit ScottSchechter.com or by clicking on the “about” section of Liza’s official German site: LizaMinnelli.de

Below is the e-mail sent to friends from Gary Klein, brother of Schechter’s partner, Russell, announcing the producer’s death. Also, the Kleins are seeking members of Schechter’s family, to inform them of his passing.

Sent: Sat, 16 May 2009 10:37 am
Subject: To friends of Scott Schechter

Dear friend of Scott Schechter,

I am very sorry to have to inform you that there has been a terrible tragedy that has taken the life of Scott Schechter early Friday morning, May 15th, 2009.  On his way home from NYC, after spending the day doing what he loved most (working on his writing), Scott collapsed on the train and died of what medical examiners say is an apparent heart attack.  He was 46 and is survived by his partner for 8 years, Russell.

You are receiving this email because you are included on a list of contacts that Scott gave to Russell in 2004.  I am Russell’s brother, Gary.  Together with Scott’s and Russell’s friends, I am helping to contact all those who knew Scott at one time or another.  

Unfortunately, though Scott had many friends, he has not been in contact with his family for several years.  All efforts to locate Scott’s immediate family thus far by NJ authorities and Scott’s close friends have failed.  We believe that he has a brother and a sister in the Northeast section of Philadelphia.  If you have any information regarding how to contact any family members, please respond to this email address so we can inform Scott’s family as soon as possible.   Arrangements for Scott final resting place must be put on hold until his family is contacted so please help if you can.

Again, I am very sorry to have to inform you of this news.   We will all miss Scott.

Gary Klein

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Though we were estranged for the last 16 years, I am deeply saddened by the loss of my brother Scott.

Scott was born February 26th, 1961, making him 48 years old when he died.

I am sorry for your loss. Have you been in touch with Scott's partner?

Steve Rothaus

We are all saddened and shocked by Scott's death.

If anyone has any information about arrangements or services, please let us know. The reader's of Liza's official U.S. site are obviously asking so they can help out.

He was a good friend and colleague to me, and a huge supporter of The Judy Room and of course, our work together on Liza's site.

Steve,

I've been on the phone with Russ (Scott's partner) several times since learning of his death. I've given him my permission to make all the necessary arrangements.

Scott and I met in 1981.

He and I spoke at least once a week since then and the conversations always revolved around our deep love of Judy and Liza.

When I was in Jr. High School I would take the bus to his house and we'd sit in his basement and watch tapes of Judy's tv series on his VCR.

I am at a loss as to how I am supposed to continue dissecting Liza's career without my partner in crime.

Scott Gorenstein

I went to Junior High School and High School with Scott. We went to see Yes together in 1977, my first concert. I'll remember him as smart, funny, kind and gentle. Forty-eight is much too young.

i am sorry to hear of Scotts passing.I first met Scott at the Judy Garland Festival in 2002,We toured around the town of Grand Rapids and listened to his many stories.When he was putting together the Liza Scrapbook I gave his some ophots and some stories about Liza.He put my name in The acknowledgments.I treasure that.I last saw him in 2005 at the festival.he will be sadly missed by all the Judy fans.He contibuted much.
Gordon Stevens Winnipeg Manitoba

I had the pleasure of knowing Scott in high school. We endlessly debated who was better: Judy or Barbra (Streisand) Guess which side he took? So I was thrilled when I learned that he had realized his dream by very successfully making the careers of Judy and her daughters his life's work, ultimately meeting Liza. How many of us can say they made their dreams a reality? When he appeared in our high school musical, I used to tease him, saying that now that I had touched a star I would never wash my finger again. Then every day at lunch he would check my finger to make sure I was making good on my promise. I smile whenever I think of those times.

Besides Scott Schector's tremendous work to preserve and celebrate the work of Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, Scott was a wonderful human being. I will never forget his kindness or generousity toward me in a very troubled time. He was always kind and gentle wanting to be useful where he could be. His untimely death is a shock. He will be deeply missed.

Scott was such a nice man. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the Judy Garland Festival. He was so kind to everyone and showed us all some rare Judy in the films he brought.I am really shocked at his passing. He will be missed by so many.

Herman, please contact me (Scott Brogan), I'm the webmaster for Scott's Liza site, and need to get the information out to our readers about who to send condolences to, arrangements, etc.

Thank you!

Scott B.
http://www.thejudyroom.com

To Scott Brogran:

Note that Scott's partner Russell will be holding a memorial service in Asbury Park, NJ (date - TBD). We'll be sure to pass that info along to you so that you can post it to the site.

Scott Gorenstein

Thank you, Scott G.

Scott was such a fantastic friend and colleague. It was always a pleasure to work with him, and to chat, and to be able to be a part of his dream of a living Liza website. He leaves a huge void in the Judy/Liza fan world.

Those who wish to leave condolences and notes of tribute, please follow the email link on the homepage of the Liza site:
http://www.officiallizaminnelli.com

Thank you again.

We owe you, Scott, a great debt of gratitude for all that you have done in sharing the wonder of Judy with the world. Words cannot express the depth of that debt - thank you.

I knew Scott from 1979, both of us being members of THE JUDY GARLAND CLUB in London. We arranged to meet at the Old Reading Terminal in Philadelphia (I took the train in from the suburbs), "Under the CLOCK at the TERMINAL at ELEVEN!" a variation of a prominent line from Judy's 1945 drama THE CLOCK. He was there, and I entered into his wonderful GARLAND treasure trove in that basement room of his. We appeared in an episode of Maury Povich's old Philly morning show PEOPLE ARE TALKING, where he asked George Segall an endless question before commercial break, and George replied "Thats the lonngest question I ever heard"! Scott's enthusiasm for all things Show Business was off and running even then, and he was overjoyed the first time he met both Liza and Lorna, sending me pictures to mark those events, in which he still had that black hair too!
He lived 10 lives into those few years, but accomplished it all, doing that job which he was born for. He moved often at a break-neck pace, perhaps he could have slowed down a little bit, but only God knows..What I will remember about Scott is LIFE and "following your dream" and seeing it all come true!Thats an epitaph so few people get to reach, and Scott did it w/GENIUS!I am forever proud of him, and of the joy of knowing him...

I've just learned of Scott's death and I'm so shocked and saddened. I used to write to him at his AOL address with various questions about Judy Garland media and he always responded the SAME day. I wish I'd known him personally. My condolences to his partner.

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