Sam L'Hommedieu, a veteran concert promoter and businessman who managed the Warner Theatre in the 1980s and helped revive the venue as a showplace for Broadway stage productions, died of a heart attack Aug. 2 at a Philadelphia hospital. He was 74 and lived in Washington.
Mr. L'Hommedieu, a lawyer and former co-owner of Washington nightclubs, operated for the last 10 years the Theater League of Philadelphia, which manages the Merriam Theater there. Earlier, he managed theaters in Atlanta and Cleveland.
In Washington, Mr. L'Hommedieu was known as an irrepressible impresario and an energetic businessman who thrived on his various ventures, even if they didn't quite turn out the way he planned. Among his most notable achievements was management of the Warner for 12 years until it closed in 1989.
He had many successful shows at the 2,000-seat downtown theater, including James Earl Jones's "Othello," "The King and I," "Sugarbabies," "Camelot" and "Beatlemania."
He promoted other events through his company, Chesapeake Concerts Inc., in Falls Church, which he ran from the late 1970s until his death. He promoted varied entertainment acts, including big bands, pop music, comedy, jazz, gospel and R&B.
A native Washingtonian, he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and entered the Army during World War II. As a member of the 87th Infantry Division, he served in Europe and participated in the Battle of the Bulge.
He graduated from the University of Maryland after the war and received law degrees from George Washington University. After clerking for U.S. District Judge Walter M. Bastian, Mr. L'Hommedieu was named an assistant U.S. attorney for the District and was assigned to prosecute cases at Municipal Court.
He later joined the D.C. law firm of Hansen, Cobb, Tucker & O'Brien, and in the mid-1960s, opened a practice with Terrance O'Grady. Among Mr. L'Hommedieu's clients were Georgetown restaurants and clubs, establishments that led to his interest in the entertainment industry.
By the 1970s, he and Jack Boyle teamed together to run the Cellar Door nightclub, featuring headline acts like John Denver. They also operated Cellar Door Productions and other Washington night spots Crazy Horse and Monkey Business.
Mr. L'Hommedieu was a former owner and acting general manager of the Philadelphia Fury, a professional outdoor soccer team, and past president of the board of directors of the Hillcrest Children Center in Washington, a nonprofit organization benefiting children with disabilities.
Survivors include his wife, Sally-Jo L'Hommedieu of Washington, and a brother, Robert L'Hommedieu of Warrenton, Va.