Australian entertainment promoter, agent and publicist Harry M Miller has died at the age of 84. The maverick stage producer changed the face of musical theatre in Australia by bringing Hair to Australia in 1969 and producing musicals such as Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease and The Rocky Horror Show.

“It is with enormous sadness that we share that the visionary agent and theatrical producer Harry M Miller died peacefully in Sydney on Wednesday 4 July,” his daughter and CEO of the Harry M Miller Group, Lauren Miller, said in a statement. “By his side were his long term partner Simmone Logue, daughters Justine, Brook and Lauren and their mother Wendy.”

Miller was born in New Zealand in 1934 and moved to Australia in 1963. He brought acts out to Australia from the Rolling Stones and the Beach Boys to Judy Garland, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald, but it was the rock opera Hair in 1969, directed by Jim Sharman and designed by Brian Thomson – which launched the career of a young Marcia Hines, as well as Reg Livermore and John Waters  – that cemented his reputation.

In the late 1960s, Miller served as Marketing and Promotions Consultant to the Australian Opera, the Australian Ballet and the Melbourne Theatre Company and in the early 70s wrote a weekly column for The Australian.

Miller joined the council of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 1970 – and was Chairman from 1972 to 1976 – was a director for Qantas in the late 70s, and in 1978 started the short-lived ticketing company Computicket, spending ten months in jail for fraudulent misappropriation after the company went into receivership.

He has represented celebrities including Lindy Chamberlain, Gai Waterhouse and Judy Moran as well as Thredbo disaster survivor Stuart Diver. Miller retired in 2009 and revealed in 2011 that he had been diagnosed with dementia.

Tributes have been flowing online from the showbiz community, with publicist Peter Bridges describing Miller as “great showbiz character and a lovely, lovely man” and Brisbane Festival Artistic Director David Berthold describing him as “a force in Australian entertainment” and “a friend to Sydney theatre.” Performer David Campbell described him as “a titan of our industry”.

“A celebration of Harry’s life will be announced in due course,” HMMG’s statement said. “Please consider a donation to Dementia Australia and the Salvation Army in lieu of flowers.”