Gil Friesen, 75, who achieved success in films and television but was best known for helping to establish A&M Records as an artists' haven for an eclectic stable of performers that included Carole King, the Police, Barry White, and the Carpenters, died Dec. 13 at his home in Los Angeles.
The cause was complications of leukemia, said Herb Alpert, the trumpeter and band leader who cofounded A&M Records with the music promoter Jerry Moss in 1962 and hired Mr. Friesen as one of its first employees. (In the company name, Mr. Friesen was known as the ampersand, Alpert said.)
Named president in 1977, Mr. Friesen helped make A&M one of the largest independent record labels in the country as well as a successful independent film studio. He resigned in 1990, after the company's sale to PolyGram Records.
A&M's artists during the '70s and '80s - most of them young, virtual unknowns when they signed with the label - included Cat Stevens, Joe Cocker, Squeeze, the Flying Burrito Brothers, Janet Jackson, Al Green, Amy Grant, Suzanne Vega, and Peter Frampton.
In 1981, Mr. Friesen persuaded Alpert and Moss to start a film division. Over the next decade A&M Films produced about 20 movies under his oversight, including the 1985 hit The Breakfast Club.
Mr. Friesen is survived by his third wife, Janet, and three children. - N.Y. Times News Service