PASSINGS: Dick Wagner, Wilton Schiller

Dick Wagner, guitarist who worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Kiss and Aerosmith, has died at 71

 

Dick Wagner

Rock guitarist worked with Alice Cooper, others

Dick Wagner, 71, a rock 'n' roll guitarist who worked with Alice Cooper, Lou Reed, Kiss and Aerosmith, and also co-wrote songs for Cooper, died of respiratory failure Wednesday at a hospital in Scottsdale, Ariz. Susan Michelson, his personal manager and business partner, confirmed his death.

Wagner's website said the guitarist had many health issues, having survived two heart attacks, a stroke, a paralyzed left arm, kidney failure and diabetes.

Wagner joined Cooper in the mid-1970s, co-writing the Cooper hits "Only Women Bleed," "You and Me" and "I Never Cry." He also worked as Cooper's musical director.

"There was just a magic in the way we wrote together," Cooper wrote in a statement to the Detroit Free Press. "He was always able to find exactly the right chord to match perfectly with what I was doing. I think that we always think our friends will be around as long as we are, so to hear of Dick's passing comes as a sudden shock and an enormous loss for me, rock 'n' roll and to his family."

Wagner was born in Iowa on Dec. 14, 1942, and grew up in Michigan. He was a key figure in southeastern Michigan's emergent rock scene in the 1960s, a go-to guitarist who made his name with such bands as the Bossmen and the Frost.

Besides working with Cooper, Wagner went on to more A-list session work with Reed, Peter Gabriel, Rod Stewart and others.

Wilton Schiller, a TV writer turned producer whose credits include the last season and the 1967 finale of "The Fugitive," died Sunday at his home in Studio City, according to his wife, Patricia Payne Schiller. He was 95. No cause was given.

- Times staff and wire reports

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