NSYNC and Backstreet Boys Disgraced Mastermind Lou Pearlman Dies

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Disgraced former manager of 90s boy bands dies in prison.

If you followed celebrity behind the scenes happenings back in the 1990s, first of all congrats on doing that without social media. Second, the name Lou Pearlman would’ve been one you were very familiar with.

Originally, Pearlman was seen as the mastermind behind super groups like Backstreet Boys and NSYNC but, like all Hollywood fairy tales, there was a much darker story playing out behind the curtain.

Today, it was confirmed the music industry figure was found dead in prison, where he was serving his 25 year sentence.

Lou Pearlman, the record producer behind boy bands such as the Backstreet Boys and ‘NSync, has died in prison, according to a Federal Bureau of Prisons record. He was 62. A search for Pearlman’s name in the inmate database shows he died on Friday, August 19. No further information was available on the website. Sources also confirmed the death to Billboard.

In 2006, after the late 90s/early 00s boy band phase had well and truly died off, Pearlman was found guilty of a number of crimes, including money laundering, conspiracy and fraud. Every act he ever managed, aside from one, ended up suing him – and all of them won. He infamously posited himself as an unofficial “sixth” member of the Backstreet Boys, in order to acquire (well, steal…) one-sixth of their band income. He was also partially responsible for assembling doomed girl group Innosense, which was, of course, Britney Spears first foray into the music business before ultimately going solo.

BSB member AJ spoke about Pearlman to Rolling Stone last February:

“Lou and I actually stayed in contact after we let him go. He bought some cars from me and I’d speak with some of his people around the holidays. But for some of the other guys, he was a real father figure. They felt like, “How could you do that to somebody? You pretty much had everything you could ever dream of and you still basically fuck us?” It was especially hard for Kevin because he didn’t have a father and he really looked up to Lou like a father figure. It’s like your dad coming home and saying, “Oh, by the way, I’ve been cheating on your mom for the last 20 years.” That’s a hard thing to swallow.

It was lie after lie. It’s one thing to be the sixth Backstreet Boy and be making exactly what we were making. And that wasn’t for doing nothing. He did help fund our very early beginning stage. He got us on those school tours, and he got us the chance to meet [manager] Johnny Wright. There was a lot of positive stuff. Sometime in the middle, around the time that ‘N Sync happened, I feel like he lost his passion for us. He was trying to become more than a mogul. It wasn’t enough to be an entrepreneur. He was trying to become a label. He was trying to become things that he had no knowledge of. I think he just got too big for his britches.”

Various members of NSYNC and BSB took to Twitter today to offer condolences, no doubt through gritted teeth: