Bill Aucoin, who discovered the rock group
and helped build them into a musical and merchandising juggernaut, died Monday at a hospital in
, Fla., of surgical complications from
. He was 66.
Aucoin discovered Kiss in
in 1973 and helped launch the makeup-wearing, fire-breathing quartet into a moneymaking machine.
He financed the band's first tour on his personal
credit card when money was tight, but he was well rewarded when the band's popularity exploded in 1975 with the hit "Rock And Roll All Nite."
FOR THE RECORD:
Bill Aucoin: The obituary in Thursday's LATExtra section of Bill Aucoin, manager of the rock group Kiss, said that he had discovered the band. Lew Linet was Kiss' first manager; Aucoin followed Linet and is credited with launching the band into stardom. —
"He was the fifth Kiss," drummer
said. "If it wasn't for Bill, there would be no Kiss."
Criss said Aucoin had an eye for what was visually striking and recognized the vast merchandising potential of rock bands in a way that few others could. With Aucoin's help, Kiss became as famous for the array of products bearing their likeness — including belt buckles,
costumes and makeup kits, action figurines and vitamins — as they were for their music.
After parting with Kiss in the early 1980s, Aucoin managed
He is survived by his longtime partner, Roman Fernandez, and two sisters.