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Originally published June 10, 2014 at 6:20 PM | Page modified June 12, 2014 at 10:57 AM

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The man behind ‘Supermensch,’ legendary manager to the stars

Shep Gordon, manager to Alice Cooper, Blondie, Luther Vandross and Raquel Welch, among others, is the subject of Mike Myer’s feature-length documentary, “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” which opens June 13 at the Landmark Seven Gables.


Special to The Seattle Times

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Shep Gordon has spent his career working behind the scenes as a manager for rock stars, A-list celebrities and top chefs without ever having to worry about being recognized on the street.

That’s all about to change now that he’s the subject of Mike Myer’s feature-length documentary, “Supermensch: The Legend of Shep Gordon,” a film that details Gordon’s ascent from absolute nobody to the manager of Alice Cooper, Blondie, Luther Vandross and Raquel Welch among others.

“I was walking to a meeting and a girl said ‘Are you Shep Gordon; can I talk to you for a minute?’ That’s like what every star deals with a 100 times a day,” Gordon said, “Hopefully I won’t get too famous.”

Gordon has good cause to be worried. One of his messages in life and in the film is: “There’s nothing about fame that is healthy.”

“Mike (Myers) calls fame the toxic waste of celebrity,” Gordon said, and in the film he warns his clients, “If I do my job perfectly, I’ll probably kill you.”

It’s a dire warning, but one with context. Gordon befriended Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix very early in their careers and saw firsthand the problems that fame brings with it — drug abuse, alcoholism and eventually death.

Despite that, he agreed to make the film with Myers, whom he met on the set of “Wayne’s World.”

“I told him it was the worst idea he ever had for his career. I didn’t see much value in it and was a little scared of having my persona known to the public,” Gordon said.

Self-deprecation aside, the film features an array of celebrities (Michael Douglas, Sylvester Stallone, Willie Nelson, Steven Tyler) all singing his praises.

“Seeing my friends talking so nicely about me was a warm and fuzzy feeling,” Gordon said.

The film portrays Gordon as quite a partyer back in the day, and the charismatic agent admitted that he’s since slowed his pace, though he still smokes marijuana.

“I’m not a person who says everyone should smoke, but it’s the safest crutch you can possibly have.”

Having successfully managed Cooper’s career from the bottom to the top, Gordon said he has no plans to represent any new acts, but he did offer some advice.

“Be sure that you can be comfortable with rejection. Rejection is part of success in the entertainment world.”

Jeff Albertson: jalbertson@seattletimes.com



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