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Donald S. Engel, 84, contract lawyer to the stars

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NEW YORK — Donald S. Engel, a lawyer who helped pop stars such as Olivia Newton-John, Donna Summer, and the Dixie Chicks wrest greater control of their careers from their record companies, died Jan. 15 in Redwood City, Calif. He was 84.

The cause was complications of leukemia, his son Gregory said.

A litigator specializing in contract disputes, Mr. Engel had an especially starry client list that also included non-musicians, such as actors Robert Wagner and Farrah Fawcett, potboiler author and sitcom creator Sidney Sheldon, comic book creator Stan Lee, and the estate of W.C. Fields. But his biggest footprint was in music.

At various times he represented Frank Sinatra, Tom Jones, Cher, Rod Stewart, Meat Loaf, Luther Vandross, Sammy Hagar, the Beach Boys and Don Henley.

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