According to Deadline, the news was announced to the Associated Press by O’Dell’s son Arran.
O’Dell first began working with the Beatles on their 1964 debut film A Hard Day’s Night. Three years later he served as an associate producer on the John Lennon-starring How I Won the War, and as a producer on the band’s Magical Mystery Tour documentary.
In 1969, he produced The Magic Christian, which featured Ringo Starr alongside Peter Sellers. It was O’Dell who allowed the Beatles to use Twickenham studios to begin recording what eventually became the Let It Be album, although they eventually opted to return to Abbey Road studio instead.
He was also name-checked, in slightly altered form, on the band’s 1970 B-side “You Know My Name (Look Up the Number),” with Lennon shouting “Let’s hear it for Denis O’Bell!” while introducing Paul McCartney, who then jokingly croons the song’s title over and over in a lounge singer-style voice.
In an interview with Steve Turner for the book A Hard Day’s Write, O’Dell revealed that the song led to a large number of prank phone calls from Beatles fans. “There were so many of them my wife started going out of her mind. Then I happened to be in one Sunday and picked up the phone myself. It was someone on LSD from a candle-making factory in Philadelphia and they just kept saying, ‘We know your name and now we’ve got your number.'”
In Memoriam: 2021 Deaths
Remembering the musicians, actors, producers and others who have died in 2021.