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Freedom fighter, film director, and GATA supporter Aaron Russo dies

Section: Daily Dispatches

9p ET Saturday, August 25, 2007

Dear Friend of GATA and Gold:

GATA's friend and supporter Aaron Russo, the film director whose polemic documentary "America: From Freedom to Fascism" last year struck a blow against the increasingly authoritarian and unaccountable state, died Friday after fighting cancer for six years. The Associated Press story about Russo that was distributed today is appended. In it he is eulogized as a freedom fighter. Let's all be glad for his work and try to continue it in our own.

CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

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Film Producer Aaron Russo Dies at 64

By The Associated Press
Saturday, August 25, 2007

LOS ANGELES -- Aaron Russo, who managed Bette Midler and went on to produce such films as "Trading Places," has died. He was 64.

The New York City native died from cancer before dawn on Friday, surrounded by family at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said Heidi Gregg, his girlfriend of more than two decades. Russo had been battling the disease for nearly six years, she said.

"He was my best friend for 27 years," said Gregg. "Aaron was a freedom fighter, a film maker, and a lover of life."

Russo was born in Brooklyn in 1943 and raised in Long Island. He began promoting rock 'n' roll shows at a local theater while still in high school, according to a biography he wrote and posted on his Web site. When he later opened his own nightclub in Chicago, Russo promoted some of the most successful rock acts of the 1960s, including Janis Joplin and The Grateful Dead, he wrote.

In the 1970s Russo managed Bette Midler, producing the Tony Award-winning "Clams on the Half-Shell Revue" starring the singer. During that time he also managed The Manhattan Transfer.

Russo eventually turned to producing feature films including "The Rose," which starred Midler in 1979 as a self-destructive rock star, and in 1983 "Trading Places," which starred Eddie Murphy and Dan Aykroyd.

Russo was also a longtime political activist, making an unsuccessful run for Nevada governor as a Republican in 1998. In January 2004 Russo declared his candidacy for the Libertarian Party's presidential nomination but lost.

In 2006 Russo finished work on a documentary titled "America: Freedom to Fascism," which was billed as an expose of the Internal Revenue Service.

"He was an absolutely amazing man," said Ilona Urban, his press secretary. "He was pointed, and once he knew there was a direction to go, you couldn't get him to turn left or right. He was very committed. "

In addition to Gregg, Russo is survived by their children, Sam Russo, 22, and Max Russo, 25.

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Information about "America: From Freedom to Fascism" can be found here:

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Join GATA at these conferences:

The Silver Summit
Thursday-Friday, September 20-21, 2007
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

New Orleans Investment Conference
Sunday-Thursday, October 21-25, 2007
New Orleans, Louisiana

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