Sex, Drugs, And Hollywood: Inside The Wild Life And Death Of Vaudeville Promoter Roy Radin

Published March 18, 2023
Updated March 20, 2023

Roy Radin was a millionaire promoter who had dreams of making it big in Hollywood — but he was brutally murdered on the orders of a bitter producer instead.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Roy Radin was one of the biggest show business promoters in the U.S. He made his riches by traveling the country organizing vaudeville performances and music tours. But in 1983, this wealthy businessman was inexplicably found dead outside of Los Angeles with a bullet wound in his head.

Roy Radin

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty ImagesRoy Radin was a successful vaudeville show promoter who died under mysterious circumstances in 1983.

Rumors swirled, and one investigative journalist even linked Radin to “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz and satanic cults across America. There were claims that he’d been involved in snuff films and cocaine trafficking before his death, but nothing could be proven.

Then, four years after Radin’s murder, a Hollywood producer named Karen Greenberger was implicated. At the time of his death, Radin had been in L.A. to meet with Greenberger and her boyfriend, producer Robert Evans, about financing the movie The Cotton Club. But in a fit of rage about her potential share of profits from the film, Greenberger hired a hitman to kill Radin.

But though the truth about Radin’s death eventually came to light, the shadowy rumors about his cult involvement never faded. This is the true story of the dramatic rise and fall of Roy Radin.

Inside Roy Radin’s Rapid Rise To Fame

Roy Radin was destined for stardom. According to Parade, he was born in 1949 to a Broadway show promoter and a showgirl. As a teenager, he dropped out of high school to enter the show business industry himself.

By the time he was in his early 20s, Roy Radin was already a millionaire from promoting vaudeville shows. He continued in the industry throughout the 1970s — but by 1983, he had his eyes set on a bigger prize.

Radin turned his attention to Hollywood and Broadway. His dream was to make it big in the movie or theater industry, and he began neglecting his vaudeville origins to make it happen.

Roy Radin At His Wedding

Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty ImagesRoy Radin at his wedding in 1981, just two years before his untimely death.

In May 1983, he traveled to Hollywood to meet with Robert Evans, the studio executive behind The Godfather. Evans was set to produce the 1984 film The Cotton Club, and Radin was interested in financing it. Also present at the meeting was fellow producer Elaine Jacobs, also known as Karen Greenberger, who was dating Evans at the time.

Everything seemed to have gone well, but within days, Roy Radin had gone missing — and he soon turned up dead.

The Sudden Murder Of Roy Radin

Radin was last spotted around 7 p.m. on May 12, 1983, getting into a limo with Greenberger, according to The New York Times. They were supposed to meet up with others for dinner, but Radin was never seen alive again.

When Greenberger was questioned by police after Radin was reported missing, she changed her story multiple times. She first claimed that she and Radin had started arguing in the car and he had thrown her out. However, she later said that Radin ordered the limo driver to let him out, leave him by the side of the road, and take her home.

The Cotton Club Movie Poster

IMDbRoy Radin was in talks about the 1984 film The Cotton Club when he was murdered.

Despite her shifting story, Greenberger wasn’t initially a serious suspect in Radin’s disappearance — not even when he was found dead with a bullet wound on his head on June 10, 1983, in a creek bed 60 miles outside of L.A.

The New York Times originally reported that 33-year-old Radin had allegedly been involved with Cuban cocaine traffickers. The paper quoted one of Radin’s friends as saying, “He had been warned. He had been told to keep his mouth shut. He laughed it off. He said, ‘Those punks don’t scare me.'”

It wasn’t until 1988 that the truth finally came out.

Karen Greenberger’s Arrest After Four Years

In 1988, four people were charged in connection with the murder of Roy Radin. One of them was Karen Greenberger.

Greenberger was reportedly unhappy with the small cut she was getting from The Cotton Club deal — so she arranged for Radin to be kidnapped and murdered.

Karen Greenberger

FacebookKaren Greenberger, a.k.a. Elaine Jacobs, at trial for the murder of Roy Radin.

The limo driver, Robert Lowe, was also charged, as were two former bodyguards, William Mentzer and Alex Marti. Greenberger was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison, according to the Los Angeles Times.

But even though the truth about Radin’s murder had come out, the theories that had developed in the years since his death weren’t quite so easy to shake.

How Roy Radin’s Story Became Connected To Satanic Cults And David Berkowitz

Shortly after Roy Radin’s death, an investigative journalist named Maury Terry traveled to L.A. to do some digging. According to Oxygen, he claimed that he found a Bible near Radin’s remains that was “deliberately folded open” to a passage that read:

“And behold, joy and gladness, slaying oxen, and killing sheep, eating flesh and drinking wine; let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we shall die.”

Meanwhile, reporter Michael Zuckerman reportedly spoke with a prison informant named Vinny, who had been the prison cellmate of “Son of Sam” David Berkowitz. Vinny claimed that Berkowitz’s sixth victim, Stacy Moskowitz, had been killed as part of a snuff film that was filmed by a man named Ron Sisman.

David Berkowitz

Wikimedia CommonsRoy Radin was allegedly connected to the “Son of Sam” serial killer David Berkowitz.

Sisman, Vinny said, was involved with another suspicious individual that he identified only as “R.R.” This mysterious character allegedly lived in a mansion on Long Island, was obsessed with snuff films, and was a leader in the same cult as Berkowitz.

Roy Radin lived in a Southampton mansion and was known for throwing rowdy parties. In fact, actress Melonie Haller once claimed she was raped on camera at one of these parties in 1980 when she refused to participate in an orgy.

Of course, it was never proven that Roy Radin was the mysterious R.R. — or that R.R. ever actually existed. All that is known for certain is that Radin was involved in an unfortunate movie deal that resulted in his murder on the order of Karen Greenberger.

But whatever truly caused the death of Roy Radin in 1983 brought an end to the promising career of the 33-year-old millionaire.

After reading about the death of Roy Radin and the satanic theories surrounding it, go inside the mysterious death of James Callender, the original American scandalmonger. Then, learn about the death of the “King of Cool” Steve McQueen.

Neil Patmore
A true crime specialist, Neil Patmore served as a police officer in the UK for nine years, and a private investigator for three years before becoming a writer.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
Citation copied
Cite This Article
Patmore, Neil. "Sex, Drugs, And Hollywood: Inside The Wild Life And Death Of Vaudeville Promoter Roy Radin.", March 18, 2023, Accessed May 22, 2024.