Dave Williams, 57, a Washington nightclub manager turned promoter and impresario who during the last two decades helped create one of the largest concert and entertainment operations in the United States, died of cancer Jan. 27 at his home in Fairfax County. Mr. Williams was a co-founder with Jack Boyle of Cellar Door Productions. Last summer, an agreement was reached to sell the business for $106 million to SFX Entertainment, a New York-based firm that in the past two years has become the nation's biggest producer of live music, theater and sporting events. During 1998, Cellar Door promoted and produced more than 500 events, drew more than 5 million people and grossed more than $100 million. Mr. Williams was its chief operating officer, a member of the board of directors and president of the Washington regional office. The firm's sale to SFX is expected to close within the next few weeks. Formed 30 years ago by Boyle and Mr. Williams, the company has grown into an operation with seven regional offices across the United States. Its facilities include the Nissan Pavilion in Prince William County; the GTE Amphitheater in Virginia Beach; concert halls in the Midwest, including facilities in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin; ballrooms; and nightclubs. It has arranged performances by groups and artists such as the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Elton John, the Dave Matthews Band, U2, Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead, James Taylor, Yanni, Jimmy Buffett and the Eagles. It did the Fourth of July Beach Boys concerts on the Mall, the Tibetan Freedom Festival and the HFStivals at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and entertainment for President Ronald Reagan's second inauguration. Mr. Williams, a native of Atlanta, grew up in San Diego. He served in the Army during the early 1960s, and he was assigned at the Pentagon. This was a period in which the Washington rock scene thrived, especially at clubs in Georgetown and downtown. During his off hours, Mr. Williams got his start in what would become his professional career helping operate one such club, Rand's on 14th Street NW. After leaving the Army, he was manager of the Crazy Horse Saloon in Georgetown, which in 1963 was acquired by Boyle. A condition of the sale was that Mr. Williams remain as manager for one year, and during that period, the business operation was hatched. Boyle had previously owned the Cellar Door nightclub, and in the 1970s, he reacquired the facility. He sold it again in 1980 but kept the name for the entertainment and promotion side of the business. During their early years, Boyle recalled yesterday, Mr. Williams arranged live entertainment for their nightclub operations, booking Fats Domino, Little Richard, the Coasters, the Drifters and others. A big man, Mr. Williams sometimes looked intimidating, friends said, but he had a dry and warm sense of humor and an engaging demeanor that made for an amicable relationship with the agents who represented the artists he booked. During concerts, he loved to relax backstage and tell war stories about his business experiences. But artists and groups with national reputations were too expensive for the confines of nightclubs, so Boyle and Mr. Williams began looking for other sites. They arranged performances at Constitution Hall, the Kennedy Center and facilities in Richmond, Hampton, Va., and Baltimore. When Capital Centre opened in Landover in 1973, they began booking acts there. They also acquired other nightclubs in the area. From 1980 to 1997, Cellar Door owned the Bayou, the landmark nightclub and music showcase under the Whitehurst Freeway in Georgetown that closed on New Year's Eve. During the 1970s, they operated the Stardust Inn in Waldorf, a former slot machine hall, which they converted into a country music center featuring the likes of Waylon Jennings, Emmylou Harris, Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. In the summer of 1995, Mr. Williams coordinated the construction of the Nissan Pavilion, one of the largest amphitheaters on the East Coast, with seating for 10,000 under the roof and 15,000 on the lawn. He was inducted into the Hall of Stars at RFK Stadium in 1996. That year he also shared the Pollstar Concert Industry Bill Graham Award for Promoter of the Year with Rick Franks, who is president of Cellar Door's Michigan office. Mr. Williams is survived by his wife, Sharon, and his mother, Carmen Bailey, both of Fairfax.