Jerry Heller, music manager.
Heart attack that led to a vehicle crash.
Yes, this is the guy Paul Giamatti played in the NWA movie Straight Outta Compton. When Jerry Heller was managing and promoting acts like Creedence Clearwater Revival, Black Sabbath, and Marvin Gaye in the '60s and '70s, he probably never thought that a few decades later, he would help put "gangsta rap" on the national radar (or even have known what those two words meant). But with the legendary group N.W.A. (you can Google what that stands for), he helped to do exactly that.
For Heller, it was a long, strange road. Soon after getting into the music business, he started getting national tours for acts like Pink Floyd and Elton John. But things dried up later, and by the mid '80s, he was back living with his parents. That is, until he met a brash, ambitious man named Eric Wright. You know him as Eazy-E.
Together, they founded Ruthless Records, and Heller managed Eazy's group N.W.A. for the next four years. Heller and Eazy bought houses two doors down from each other, and they both had matching white BMWs with matching license plates. One was a 20-something gangsta rapper from Compton, the other a 50-something Jewish guy from Cleveland -- it honestly would have made a great sitcom.
Just the two of us, we could make if we try. Just the two of us, E and I.
Those of you who've seen the movie know that things went south when a few members began complaining about not getting their due royalties. By 1989, the group had split, and Cube specifically directed his angst at Heller in a not-so-subtle track after he went solo, titled "No Vaseline":
Used to be my homey, now you act like you don't know me / It's a case of divide-and-conquer / 'Cause you let a Jew break up my crew / Get rid of that devil real simple, Put a bullet in his temple / Eric Wright, punk, always into somethin', gettin' fucked at night / By Mista Shitpacker, bend over for the goddamn cracker, no Vaseline
Heller sued the makers of the recent movie for defamation of character (it was dismissed). To his dying day, he lived in the same house and drove the same car that Eazy bought him.