An article from The Guardian of August 28th, 1967
The Beatles' Diaghilev dies at 32
Monday August 28, 1967
Mr Brian Epstein, who built up the Beatles, Cilla Black, and others to international fame, was found dead in bed in his home in Belgravia, London, yesterday. He was 32.
Police were called by the housekeeper. A friend of Mr Epstein said: "He has been unwell for some months."
The Beatles were in Bangor where they were initiated into the cult of the Himalayan mystic, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Paul McCartney and his friend Jane Asher, the actress, left for London after hearing the news. Mr McCartney, looking pale and distressed, said: "It is a great shock and I am upset."
John Lennon said: "The Maharishi told us not to be too overwhelmed by grief. I have lost only a few people who were very close to me. This is one of those occasions, but I feel my course of meditation here has helped me overcome my grief more easily than before."
Brian Epstein was considered as the Svengali who, by magic, created the Beatles and the resulting beat music boom. But he always denied [this] and their long-running success has proved him right. He was far more the Diaghilev of pop music than a Svengali.
Indeed, his personal tastes were for the exotic, artistic, and classical. He loved classical music and enjoyed talking about it, which he could do in some depth. He was shy and sensitive.
The sensitive side of his nature was, perhaps, the source of his melancholy. At times he seemed like a character enmeshed in an elaborate ironic Nabokovian plot: the modern artist-business man beset by the thoroughly old-fashioned vulgarities of the Philistine.
Born in 1935, Epstein had a conventional middle-class Jewish background. At 16 he started in his father's furniture shop, and broke this off for a time to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, but became very successful in it as the manager of the family business record department.
In October, 1961. Customers, he said, kept asking for a record called "Mr Bonnie," which the Beatles had recorded in Germany for an obscure company. The Beatles were appearing at the Cavern Club, just round the corner from his shop. The rest of this story is well known.
Less well known or appreciated are Epstein's attempts to broaden his own scope as an impresario. In 1965 he bought the Saville Theatre. Unfortunately, he lost money with many of his productions there, particularly James Baldwin's play "The Amen Corner."
All this added to his melancholy; he suffered from poor health, and the death of his father, with whom he was extremely close, was another blow.