EXPIRED: 11/04/09 – Art D’Lugoff, 85, opened the Greenwich Village jazz club, The Village Gate, in 1958 and hosted Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Aretha Franklin, and Miles Davis, as well as the best in comedy, including Bill Cosby, Mort Sahl, Woody Allen, and John Belushi. Playing at the Village Gate could make your career back in the heyday.
But sometimes D’Lugoff was wrong. He turned away Bob Dylan, and he once fired a young waiter named Dustin Hoffman for being a crappy waiter. Sam Shepard was a busboy for a while.
D’Lugoff to declare bankruptcy in 1991 and closed the famed club 3 years later. He worked on raising money for the development of a national jazz museum and hall of fame to be located in New York City eventually developing into the National Jazz Museum of Harlem.
In 2008 the Village Gate re-opened under the name “Le Poisson Rouge”, with D’Lugoff as a consultant.
At the time of his death, D’Lugoff was weeks away from re-launching his nightclub at an even bigger downtown venue.