Veteran concert promoter Chuck Landis, who launched his career 41 years ago with a small nightclub that featured singers Frankie Lane and Kay Starr, and more recently had a role in founding two of Los Angeles' best-known rock clubs, died early Sunday in his Canoga Park home, a family spokesman said. He was 68.
A burly, gruff man who had consistently survived in the hotly competitive nightclub wars of Los Angeles, Landis died of undetermined causes, the spokesman said.
Landis is best known as a co-founder of the Roxy, a West Hollywood rock club, in the early 1970s, and, in 1980, for starting the Country Club in Reseda, which offers rock concerts and boxing matches. He also owned several San Fernando Valley restaurants.
Justin Pierce, a friend and former public relations consultant for Landis, said Landis thrived while competitors went out of business, because he "had very good instincts and was very shrewd. He also was a great guy and he was always straight with you."
Landis moved to Los Angeles in 1945 from his native Minneapolis and opened a small room, the Morocco, on Vine Street in Hollywood, hoping to capitalize on post-World War II prosperity. The nightclub was a success, and over the next decade, Landis opened several others, including the Crescendo and the Interlude in West Hollywood.
In the 1950s, he converted an old Sunset Strip supermarket into the Largo, which he billed as the nation's "class" burlesque house. When public interest in burlesque waned, Landis accepted an offer from recording executive Lou Adler and Whisky owner Elmer Valentine to change the club's name to the Roxy and to offer rock concerts.
In 1980, Landis launched the Country Club as the city's premier country and western concert hall. But when country entertainers proved unable to consistently fill the 1,000-seat auditorium, Landis quickly switched to rock concerts.
Landis is survived by his wife Elaine, four sons and three grandchildren.
Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Hillside Memorial Park in Los Angeles.