Pierre Cossette, the producer who turned the Grammy Awards into a major television event, died Friday of congestive heart failure, reports the New York Times. He was 85.
In 1971, Cossette brought what had been an industry event to ABC, where it got its first live television outing. He hustled people off the streets to fill the front rows, and, in a concession to the network, which was skeptical that rock ‘n’ roll would work on TV, got Andy Williams to host..
Cossette continued to produce the awards show through 2005, when he handed off production to his son John.
In 1995, the Recording Academy honored him for his efforts with a Trustees Award.