Celebrity Theatre founder Rich Hazelwood has died; he was 74

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Posted at 8:15 PM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-02 00:19:37-05

PHOENIX — Rich Hazelwood, an Arizona entrepreneur who purchased and restored Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, died Monday, according to a statement from his family. He was 74.

"The Celebrity Theatre family is devastated to share the news that our owner, Rich Hazelwood passed away this morning. Rich Hazelwood cared deeply about his family, his Celebrity Theatre staff (which he considered family), everyone associated with Celebrity Theatre, and all the Valley supporters who attended concerts and events. He was very proud of the venue and what it means to the community," the family said in a statement.

"As we process this loss, Rich’s daughter Heidi Hazelwood will lead Celebrity Theatre through its grief, past the pandemic, and into the future. For now, we are emotionally processing this incredible loss and we thank you for your privacy," the statement said.

Hazelwood was fighting leukemia, a spokesperson said.

According to the theater's website, Celebrity Theatre was originally built as a convention hall that could be turned into a concert venue during the winter months. It opened in 1964 with its first production being "South Pacific."

Hazelwood eventually bought the theater, restored it, and turned it into an in-the-round concert venue where "no seat is more than 70 feet away from the stage," according to the website.

Hazelwood also founded Hazelwood Gift Shops, a company that ran gift shops at hotels and resorts in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, and Utah, according to its website.

No other information was released.