Charles Koppelman, a Roslyn Harbor resident who was a longtime music and entertainment industry executive who held leadership positions in EMI, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia and CAK Entertainment, died of cancer on Nov. 25. He was 82.
Born in Brooklyn on March 30, 1940 to Ruth and Irving Koppelman, Koppelman made his music industry debut in 1960 as a member of The Ivy Three, which had a Top 10 hit single in 1960 with “Yogi,” a song about the cartoon bear, but disbanded the following year. His leadership had a role in the careers of popular music artists such as Michael Bolton, New Kids on The Block, and Vanilla Ice, among many others.
“He lived exactly the life he wanted to live,” his son Brian Koppelman, cocreator of the Showtime series Billions, posted on social media. “And he spent his last days surrounded by those he loved the most.”
But it was a long road to the top. After his band broke up, he later joined Aldon Music as a songwriter before cofounding Koppelman/Rubin Associates, then becoming a vice president/national director of A&R (artists and repertoire) at CBS Records, founding The Entertainment Company and SBK Entertainment World, Inc., which was later acquired by EMI. He then led the company’s North American division through the ‘90s.
He later served as chairman of Steve Madden Ltd. before being appointed chair of Martha Stewart’s company, making a television appearance alongside her in 2015 on NBC’s The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. In 2011, he stepped down to focus on C.A.K. Entertainment, but also still served on the board of directors of the Six Flags Entertainment Corporation and Las Vegas Sands Corp. He was also chairman of Medient Studios Inc.
Koppelman is predeceased by his first wife Brenda, with whom he had three children. He is survived by his second wife Gerri Kyhill Koppelman and children Brian, Stacy, and Jennifer.