Born in Philadelphia, Edward Warhoftig opened up a record store at Broadway and Mickle Street in 1966. Staying with the city when many other merchants left, Broadway Eddie and his stores, which included a men's wear and dollar store became a Camden institution during his 38 years in business in Camden.
A friend and business associate of Philadelphia radio personality Jerry Blavat, he also worked as a record promoter and producer at Philadelphia International Records, owned by Camden native Leon Huff and Kenny Gamble. In 1977 he co-produced the MFSB band's recording of "K-Jee", which was placed on the soundtrack of the movie Saturday Night Fever. The soundtrack won Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1978 and has sold more than 15 million copies.
Broadway Eddie Warhoftig died on Saturday, Jul;y 5, 2003 at the age of 69.
|Camden Courier-Post * July 7, 2003|
Edward "Broadway Eddie" Warhoftig, a Cherry Hill resident and Camden businessman who won a Grammy Award as a music producer on one of the biggest-selling albums of all time, died Saturday.
He was 69.
Warhoftig established his first store, the Broadway Record Museum, now simply Broadway Eddie's, near Mickle Boulevard in 1966. He expanded along Broadway to open a clothing store in 1978 and a "99 cents" store in 1993. All three remain in operation.
"His life was really the record business, the music," said friend Kal Rudman, a radio-industry trade publisher.
Samuel "Simcha" Warhoftig, Eddie's father, and Louis Blavat, father of local radio personality Jerry Blavat, were partners with a third man in a Philadelphia bail-bonds business, Jerry Blavat said.
Blavat said he gave Warhoftig the idea for a record store in Camden. The store benefited from frequent mentions on radio and television shows hosted by Blavat, known as the Geator.
"I gave him the name," Blavat said. "He didn't know what to call the store. I said, `Listen, Eddie: You're on Broadway. You're Broadway Eddie.' I used to talk about him on the radio all the time."
Blavat said he also introduced Warhoftig to Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, the songwriting and producing duo that started the renowned Philadelphia International Records. Warhoftig worked as a promoter and producer for the label, said his son, Robert Warhoftig, 37.
In 1975, Philadelphia International released the album Universal Love by MFSB (which stood for Mother Father Sister Brother), the backup band on hits by acts like the O'Jays and the Stylistics. The album included a cover of the Nite-Liters song "K-Jee," co-produced by Warhoftig and Robert Martin.
"K-Jee" was picked for the soundtrack to the blockbuster 1977 film Saturday Night Fever. The soundtrack won the 1978 Grammy for Album of the Year and has sold more than 15 million copies.
Warhoftig, who as a young man worked as a bail-bondsman and as a huckster selling fruit, built his record store and other businesses by hustling, said his daughter, Barbara Warhoftig, 45, of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
When he didn't have music a customer wanted, Warhoftig would buy it retail from the Lit Brothers department store and resell it at a loss to keep the customer, she said.
Lit Brothers is gone, but Camden residents still buy from Broadway Eddie's stores. "He had an undying love for that town," his daughter said.
Warhoftig's funeral procession Wednesday will go through downtown Camden to signify that love, she said.
Reach Erik Schwartz at firstname.lastname@example.org
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