Sex Pistols' Former Manager Malcolm McLaren Dies At 64

Thursday, Apr 8, 2010  |  Updated 11:00 PM PDT
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Sex Pistols' Former Manager Malcolm McLaren Dies At 64

AP

In this Oct. 13, 1978 file photo, band manager Malcolm McLaren leaves Manhattan Criminal Court in New York, after the arraignment of Sid Vicious of the punk rock band the Sex Pistols, on second-degree murder in the stabbing death of his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen. McLaren, 64, died of cancer, Thursday, April 8, 2010, in New York according to his agent, Les Molloy.

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The former manager of the Sex Pistols and one of the seminal figures of the punk rock era, Malcolm McLaren, died Thursday, his son said. He was 64.

Joe Corre said his father died of an aggressive form of cancer in Switzerland, declining to give the exact location because he said he wanted to avoid a media scrum.

"He was the original punk rocker and revolutionized the world," Corre told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "He's somebody I'm incredibly proud of. He's a real beacon of a man for people to look up to."

The multitalented McLaren rose to fame as the colorful manager of The Sex Pistols, but the art college dropout is also known for the infamous clothes shop he opened on London's King's Road with his then-girlfriend Vivienne Westwood in 1971.

The shop changed its name and focus several times, operating as "SEX" and "World's End" and "Seditionaries" at various times before she and McLaren split.

Music journalist Jon Savage, who wrote "England's Dreaming," a history of the Sex Pistols and punk, said that "without Malcolm McLaren there would not have been any British punk."

"He's one of the rare individuals who had a huge impact on the cultural and social life of this nation."

Although the Sex Pistols broke up after only one album, 1977's "Never Mind the Bollocks," their rebellious antics and raucous music would set the bar for bands to come.

Their bassist, Sid Vicious, died of a heroin overdose in 1979 after he was accused of killing his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, in New York City in 1978.

McLaren's career in music wasn't limited to managing the Pistols. He also had a regarded solo career in which he blended genres and acted as a kind of music curator. In the early 1980s, he had key songs in hip-hop, including the hit "Buffalo Gals," and bringing different textures to the developing genre; in his career, he worked in electronica, pop — even opera.

In addition to music and fashion, McLaren also dabbled in journalism and filmmaking — working in Hollywood with directors such as Quentin Tarantino and Steven Spielberg.

Corre, his son with Westwood, would continue the family tradition of blending shock with success, co-founding designer lingerie chain Agent Provocateur, which sells its risque, high-end wares across the world.

Earlier, the AP spoke with Les Molloy, which British media identified as McLaren's agent. Molloy said McLaren had died in New York but Corre said that was wrong, that Molloy was no longer McLaren's agent and that he was not authorized to speak for the family.

Repeated calls to Molloy since then have not been answered.

McLaren is survived by Corre and his longtime partner Young Kim.

Corre said that while funeral arrangements have yet to be made, McLaren had wanted to be buried in north London's stately Highgate cemetery, near where he was born.

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