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Jerry Moss
Oscars 2014: The man behind '20 Feet From Stardom'
Oscars 2014: The man behind '20 Feet From Stardom'

On one level, it was no surprise that veteran record company executive Gil Friesen was drawn to the theme of "20 Feet From Stardom," the film about backup singers that won the Oscar for documentary feature Sunday night. Friesen, longtime president of A&M Records, was at a performance by Leonard Cohen in Las Vegas several years ago when he got the idea to explore the question of why support singers who, although tremendously talented, never became stars in their own right. There was a parallel in his own life: Friesen himself was a different breed than high-profile record label heads like Clive Davis, Berry Gordy and Ahmet Ertegun. Sometimes referred to as "the...