Michael Viner

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Michael Viner_table_infobox_0

Michael VinerMichael Viner_header_cell_0_0_0
BornMichael Viner_header_cell_0_1_0 (1944-02-27)February 27, 1944

Washington, D.C., USAMichael Viner_cell_0_1_1

DiedMichael Viner_header_cell_0_2_0 August 8, 2009(2009-08-08) (aged 65)

Beverly Hills, California, USAMichael Viner_cell_0_2_1

Occupation(s)Michael Viner_header_cell_0_3_0 Film producer, record producer, musicianMichael Viner_cell_0_3_1
Associated actsMichael Viner_header_cell_0_4_0 Incredible Bongo BandMichael Viner_cell_0_4_1

Michael Ames Viner (/ˈviːnər/ VEE-nər; February 27, 1944 – August 8, 2009) was an American film producer and record producer, who later shifted into book publishing and became an innovator in the audiobook field. Michael Viner_sentence_0

A widely sampled percussion break in the recording of the song "Apache" by the Incredible Bongo Band, a group he assembled in the early 1970s, has been frequently integrated into many hip hop recordings. Michael Viner_sentence_1

Early life Michael Viner_section_0

Viner was born in Washington, D.C., the son of Jeanne (née Spitzel) and Melvin Viner. Michael Viner_sentence_2

Viner attended the Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, California, majored in English at Harvard University, and studied at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. Michael Viner_sentence_3

He worked on Robert F. Kennedy's 1968 presidential campaign. Michael Viner_sentence_4

Viner began his entertainment industry career working summers during high school in the mail room at Twentieth Century Fox; after Kennedy's assassination, he worked for movie studios, and ran a record division called Pride for MGM. Michael Viner_sentence_5

He was the producer of the inaugural ball for President Richard Nixon in 1973. Michael Viner_sentence_6

Record producing Michael Viner_section_1

Viner produced a record in 1970 called The Best of Marcel Marceao, a joke album produced for under $50 and consisting of nineteen minutes of silence followed by one minute of applause on each side of the record, purportedly recording performances by the famous mime artist Marcel Marceau, his name intentionally misspelled on the album for unstated reasons. Michael Viner_sentence_7

The album led to a production deal with Mike Curb at MGM Records, where he helped produce a cover version of "The Candy Man", which was a chart-topping hit for Sammy Davis, Jr. in 1972. Michael Viner_sentence_8

He assembled the Incredible Bongo Band in 1972, which produced an album that was the soundtrack for that year's science fiction film The Thing with Two Heads, consisting of remakes of instrumental songs from the 1950s and 1960s given a characteristic funk style, and achieving a hit with "Bongo Rock", a remake of a 1959 song by Preston Epps. Michael Viner_sentence_9

That success led Viner to produce Bongo Rock, another album for the group, that included "Apache", a remake of the instrumental which was originally a 1960 UK hit for The Shadows and in 1961 a US hit for guitarist Jørgen Ingmann. Michael Viner_sentence_10

Decades later, hip hop artists started sampling the Incredible Bongo Band recording, with the percussion breakdown from "Apache" appearing in songs by DJ Kool Herc, L.L. Michael Viner_sentence_11 Cool J and Nas, as well as Moby. Michael Viner_sentence_12

Among the artists he signed at MGM Records was Debby Boone, who would have a hit in 1977 with "You Light Up My Life". Michael Viner_sentence_13

Publishing and audiobooks Michael Viner_section_2

Viner married actress Deborah Raffin in 1974 (they divorced in 2005). Michael Viner_sentence_14

He and Raffin opened Dove Books-on-Tape in 1985 in the garage of their Coldwater Canyon home. Michael Viner_sentence_15

Viner had won an $8,000 bet in a backgammon game with the author Sidney Sheldon; rather than taking the money, Viner asked Sheldon to let him publish two of his books as audiobooks. Michael Viner_sentence_16

Although Viner became known for publishing sensational tabloid-style books such as You'll Never Make Love in This Town Again and Faye Resnick's book about Nicole Brown Simpson, among Dove's first successes was the audiobook of Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time. Michael Viner_sentence_17

The company grew to become a serious competitor of the more established publishers in the audiobook business. Michael Viner_sentence_18

After suffering some financial setbacks, Viner and Raffin sold Dove in 1997, and later obtained a large legal malpractice judgment against their own lawyers relating to this transaction, but after a lengthy appeals process, the judgment was overturned. Michael Viner_sentence_19

They founded New Millennium Entertainment, which filed for bankruptcy after a jury ordered it to pay $2.8 million in a highly publicized lawsuit with author and editor Otto Penzler. Michael Viner_sentence_20

In 2005 Viner established another company, Phoenix Books. Michael Viner_sentence_21

Viner sold Phoenix to Dwight D. Opperman in 2007 but stayed on as its president. Michael Viner_sentence_22

Viner died in Beverly Hills, California at age 65 on August 8, 2009, due to cancer. Michael Viner_sentence_23

Appearances in Television and Film Michael Viner_section_3

Viner appeared in a 1970 episode of To Tell the Truth, surrounded by two imposters, each claiming to be the producer of his "The Best of Marcel Marceao" album. Michael Viner_sentence_24

None of the celebrity panelists correctly guessed him to be the real Michael Viner, instead opting to vote for the two imposters to his left and right. Michael Viner_sentence_25

The 2013 documentary Sample This recounts the story of Viner and The Incredible Bongo Band. Michael Viner_sentence_26


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael Viner.