Bee Gees and Lionel Richie manager Ken Kragen dies, aged 85

15 December 2021, 09:55 | Updated: 15 December 2021, 10:05

The Bee Gees - The brothers’ distinctive singing style

By Mayer Nissim

Manager and fundraiser Ken Kragen had an absolutely massive role in 20th century music.

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Ken Kragen, the manager of superstars like the Bee Gees and Lionel Richie, has died at the age of 85.

He died from natural causes yesterday (December 14) at his home in Brentwood, California, PA reports.

Born on November 24, 1936 in Alameda, California, Kragen also managed stars including Kenny Rogers, Olivia Newton-John and Burt Reynolds during his career.

Ken also worked in TV and film production and was a producer of the groundbreaking TV show The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.

In his work as a fundraiser, Ken was one of the co-organisers of Hands Across America and the 1985 charity single 'We Are The World' – the US equivalent of Band Aid.

U.S.A. For Africa - We Are the World (Official Video)

That song was written by Richie with Michael Jackson and recorded by the one-off supergroup USA For Africa, selling over 20 million copies.

Ken had been married to his wife, the actress Cathy Worthington, for 43 years.

Cathy said: "To have been married to someone of such character and loving goodness is the honour of my life."

His daughter Emma Kragen added: "While I am of course immensely proud of everything he has accomplished professionally, he has also been the best dad to me that I could ever ask for."

Ken Kragen
Ken Kragen. Picture: Alamy

Kragen won several music awards for his work, and was also given the United Nation’s Peace Medal for his work with Hands Across America and 'We Are The World'.

The family has said that a memorial tribute in Ken's honour will be planned for the future, and there will be the launch of The Ken Kragen Memorial Foundation.

Well-wishers wanting to make an immediate donation in Ken's memory are urged to contribute to WhyHunger.