Jew From Brooklyn Reveals How He Became Mohammad Ali’s Manager
South Florida resident Alan Amron became the manager of one of the greatest boxing legends of all time, Mohammad Ali, after approaching the icon with an idea to reunite The Beatles, the Broward Palm Beach New Times reported on Tuesday.
In 1976, while living in Long Island with his then-wife Eileen, Amron had a plan to get the Beatles back together after he watched a news segment about how the famous British band broke up at the height of their career in 1970. On May 31 of that year, the Jewish Brooklyn-native, who was 28 at the time, took out an ad in the Village Voice asking everyone in the world to donate a dollar to help with his efforts to reunite the singers. Rolling Stone magazine reprinted his ad for free in July, with the headline “Advancing Beatlemania.”
The ad caught people’s attention and Amron said every morning he would find his mailbox filled with envelopes from around the world. He told the New Times, “I was in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, every magazine in the world.”
A few months later, Amron took a vacation to Miami Beach, and when he stopped at a diner to grab some breakfast, he spotted Ali in a booth eating a stack of pancakes. Amron walked up to Ali’s table and told the athlete, “Excuse me, sir, but I’m trying to re-form the Beatles. Would you like to help?”
Amron recalled that the question got Ali to sit up straight and say, “The Beatles? I love the Beatles!” He then handed Amron his business card and said, “This is the number to my manager. Call him and tell him I want to do this with you.”
After their encounter, Amron flew to the boxer’s home in Chicago, where he met Ali’s manager, Jabir Herbert Muhammad, who was also a spiritual adviser and prominent Islamic leader, along with a photographer from Life magazine. Pictures taken that day show Amron and Ali sitting on a staircase and talking about working together in the future.
“We need someone like you,” Muhammad the manager told Amron that day. “When people see me, they get sort of scared, sort of upset. We need a nice Jewish kid like you to represent Ali in movie deals, TV deals, that sort of thing. I’ll tell you what to say, and you go out and do it.”
Amron then became Ali’s manager, and with his help the boxer met Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington. When Ali filmed his 1977 movie, The Greatest, Amron stuck around on-set to help the boxer sift through a number of business opportunities, according to the New Times. Amron said one idea they had was to create a fast-food restaurant like McDonald’s. He said, “We were going to call it Champ’s Chicken.”
Khalilah Camacho-Ali, the boxer’s ex-wife, told New Times that Amron was “a very close friend” of Ali’s. She added, “He and Ali were firecrackers. If you saw them together, you wouldn’t believe it — he and Ali could never stop talking.”
Amron went on to manage other celebrities, including ’70s child star Kristy McNichol and actor Robert Guillaume, who voiced Rafiki in the Disney movie The Lion King. Nowadays he is at the center of a $400 million lawsuit revolving around claims that he created the Post-It. As a self-proclaimed inventor, Amron is the patent-holder for 40 inventions, including a battery-operated water gun, a digital photo frame, a bubblegum tape dispenser, a series of children’s toys and an early version of the TV sleep timer.