Catch A Rising Star founder Rick Newman whose club helped launch the careers of numerous comedians and musicians such as Robin Williams, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Seinfeld and Chris Rock among countless others has passed away. The news was first reported by thelaughbutton. 

Newman opened the original "Catch" in Manhattan on First Avenue between East 78th and East 77th streets. While the original Catch has long since closed, the name has lived on in other locations including Princeton where I was the house emcee and general manager from 2004-09,

Catch CEO Suzy Yengo on Newman: "There will never be another Rick Newman. There will never be another time in history when comics didn't worry about censorship and valued the legendary club created by Rick Newman. He was a friend, a mentor, and one hell of a great guy. I will miss him forever."

Jim Wright wrote on the Catch Facebook page:

Kevin Kearney was the National Booking Manager for all the Catch A Rising Star clubs from 1997 through 2008 and the man who hired me at Catch Princeton which he managed in 1995. He went on to managed the Catch club on South Street in Philadelphia until they moved him to Las Vegas in 1997.

Kearney on Newman

"The road to success and fame certainly wound through Rick Newman's Catch A Rising Star in New York City and the other clubs in the Catch A Rising Star chain of clubs from the early 1970s until well after the 2000s."

"Young, talented comedians, comic actors, singers, and musicians all wanted their turn on that stage to first see if they had anything the industry wanted and then find out where that talent could take them."

"The apex of all this interest was Rick Newman. If Rick liked your act, you had a career. If Rick liked your act, you were going somewhere. He helped so many talented people find their way to success. It's not just famous people he helped along the way. So many people, as well as the most famous funny people you know now, have a story of Rick Newman helping them get where they are today. Not a bad way to be remembered. Rick Newman was a good guy in a rough business and he will be missed by everybody."

Newman's death comes just days after the passing of Richard Belzer, whose career Newman helped launch when he made him the house emcee at Catch New York.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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