R.I.P. Richie Blumberg

Richie was a devout Bettehead….not one for Facebook, MySpace or the such….but he was old school Bette all the way. He was there in the beginning in front of and behind the scenes always with a story to tell. He was also a friend of mine and I will miss him dearly. He died unexpectedly over the weekend. Causes are not known yet, however the funeral is Wednesday in Philadelphia. Rest in peace my friend…..

Love, Don

PS: You can sign the Guestbook here: Click Here

Jan. 18, 2010, son of Claire Blumberg Schein (nee Steinman) and the late Myer Blumberg. Brother of Susan Blumberg DeCastra, Judy Blumberg and Steven Blumberg. Relatives and friends are invited to Funeral Services Wed 10 A.M. precisely

GOLDSTEINS’ ROSENBERG’S RAPHAEL SACKS SUBURBAN NORTH, 310 Second St. Pike, Southampton. Int. Shalom Memorial Park. Shiva will be observed at the residence of Claire Blumberg Schein. Contributions in his memory may be made to the charity of donor’s choice

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2 thoughts on “R.I.P. Richie Blumberg

  1. If you were to ask Bette Midler today, to count on one hand, and list her all-time greatest fans, Richie Blumberg would be on that short list. You could even mention his name to her, and I would guarantee you she knows who he is.

    I met Richie at a Bette concert in 1975, and we remained friends and loyal Betteheads for what is now, 35 years. Richie’s loyalty to Bette was unwavering, and he possessed what is probably the greatest collection of Bette memorabilia in the world. We’re talking, if Bette opened up a museum, Richie would be able to fill it without assistance. He has one-of-a-kind items that none of us have or will probably ever see.

    Richie’s reach goes way back to Bette’s roots, from Broadway in the 1960’s, to all of her albums from Day One, ” The Divine Miss M”.

    Richie used to work at Bill Graham Presents, which later became BGP, followed by Ticketron and Ticketmaster. During those days, he knew Bette’s concert tour schedule, and would frequently supply me (and him, of course!) with Press and backstage passes to Bette’s Bay Area concerts.

    I recall camping overnight in front of theater box offices in San Francisco with Richie and friends, on a few occasions, so we were first in line to get great Bette seats. Sometimes the best seats were sold at the venue, and not through the ticket agencies. Richie and I probably had more front-row center seats for Bette’s concerts, than any of her fans. All in all, Richie and I saw Bette approximately 50 times in concert, although we probably lost count by the year 1990. If Bette performed 5 events in a city, Richie and I would buy tickets for all 5 shows.

    I can recall holding Bette’s hand as she got down from Center Stage on her Christmas Eve concert in the 1970’s to sing Christmas carols to the audience (30 years before Cool Yule!), as she walked through the aisles of appreciative fans at the Berkeley Community Theater. I can also recall, thanks to Richie, going backstage to see Bette and Patti Labelle after the New Year’s Eve Divine Miss Millenium concert. After chatting with Patti, we spent a good deal of time talking to Bette’s husband, Martin von Haselberg, before working our way towards Bette’s line of fans.

    Richie managed to always find a way to get backstage after Bette’s concerts, whether he was schmoozing with the staff or stage-hands, or warming up to Aaron Russo (trust me, that was a challenge!).

    Richie was a guy that had no reservations calling Bette’s staff on the phone (before the days of the web and internet) to find out details about her latest record album, concert tour date or motion picture.

    In the 80’s, Richie introduced me to Bruce Vilanch, one of the nicest and funniest guys you would ever want to meet, again at the Berkeley Community Theater. I’m certain Bruce will remember Richie, as well.

    On a more personal note, Richie was “out” when it was difficult to express one’s sexuality in public (i.e., the 1970’s), and constantly championed gay and gay rights causes. He lived in San Francisco during the time of Harvey Milk, and I recall one of his first jobs was with the “Lavender Pages”, which was a Yellow Pages, of sorts, for gay and gay-friendly businesses. Richie’s vocation, over the years, always involved the media and communications as it pertained to gay issues.

    I am very saddened to hear of Richie’s passing. Richie moved to Philadelphia from San Francisco around 10 years ago, and although we still stayed in contact with occasional e-mails, lost a bit of the Bette momentum.

    I would e-mail Richie from time to time to find out what was going on with Bette’s career, and Richie would say, “just jump on bootlegbetty.com and you’ll find out everything about Bette’s career that you need to know”. I think Richie was relieved that Don came along to fill us in with all the news!

    Richie was a great guy–a terrific conversationalist, who lived by the credo, “you gotta have Friends”. As a Bettehead, his loss is huge. I don’t know how he passed, but I will miss him deeply.

    His webmail address was “Rich as One To Be (richas12b), which personified his personality: the riches you have in life are due to the people you surround yourself with, and the people that you love.
    Wealth is what you make of it.

    May Richie rest in peace.

    His friend, Ron

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