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Art D’Lugoff, Jazz and NYC Nightclub Impresario, Dies at 85

The Village Gate

Art D’Lugoff, the owner of The Village Gate nightclub located in the heart of Greenwich Village for over 40 years, died on Wednesday, November 4, 2009 in Riverdale, N.Y. D’Lugoff was 85 years old.

After producing concerts around New York City for several years, D’Lugoff and his brother Burt opened the Gate, as it was informally called, in 1958. He booked many of the greatest names in jazz, such as Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday and Duke Ellington. Located in the heart of the Village near the corner of Bleecker and Thompson Streets, the club also featured comedy and among the famous comedians who performed there, way before they became famous, were Bill Cosby, Woody Allen and Mort Sahl. Among the nearly apocryphal stories told about D’Lugoff were that he turned away Bob Dylan and that he fired Dustin Hoffman (as a waiter). Of course, many clubs and promoters rejected Dylan in his early years in New York City, but the story speaks as much about D’Lugoff’s unique combination of self-confidence and humility.

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