Wendy Dio emerged into the entertainment world in 1981, when she became president of the Niji Entertainment Group, which she formed alongside her husband, the legendary heavy metal singer, songwriter, composer, and former front man of both Rainbow and Black Sabbath, Ronnie James Dio, who she’d married in 1978. During this time, Ms. Dio made a name for herself as a woman manager in the very male dominated entertainment industry, acting as a manager for such Los Angeles-based rock bands as Rough Cutt, NuHaven, Cold Sweat and Hellion. She was notably one of two women working in the role of manager during those early years, and her pioneering work paved the way for women in the industry.
Serving as the executive producer for numerous gold and platinum albums over the course of her career, Ms. Dio’s impact on the music industry has been recognized with awards from Performance and Pollstar for stage set design and concert video production. She managed and produced a variety of live performance recordings for her husband both during his career and following his passing from cancer in 2010, with titles including “Dio: Special from the Spectrum” in 1984, “Heaven & Hell: Live from Radio City Music Hall” in 2007 and “Dio: Live in London – Hammersmith Apollo 1993” in 2014, among others. Presently, Ms. Dio is working on an as yet untitled documentary on her husband’s life that is slated to premier at a film festival in 2022.
While Ms. Dio considers herself to be semiretired, she continues to manage some of her long-time clients, including Dio Disciples and Rough Cutt. Her primary work, however, has been her ongoing effort to maintain and continue the legacy of her late husband. In his memory, she established the Ronnie James Dio Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund, which supports cancer research, education and early detection screenings, in 2010. Today, the fund has raised over $2 million to benefit cancer patients and Ms. Dio has organized a variety of events to ensure continued funding. In March of 2014, the tribute album, “Ronnie James Dio This is Your Life” was released, with all album proceeds going to benefit the Stand Up and Shout Cancer Fund.
Furthermore, Ms. Dio recently published an autobiography of her husband, “Rainbow in the Dark: The Autobiography.” Her husband had begun writing his autobiography prior to his passing, but it had only been partially complete at the time of his death. Teaming up with music journalist Mick Wall, she set about the task of finishing the autobiography, compiling old interviews and filling in moments with her own recollections of her husband. The book was released by Permuted Press on July 27, 2021, and quickly secured a place on the best seller list. Looking toward the future, Ms. Dio has plans to write a second book, which will be an illustrated collection of her husband’s lyrics, as she finds his words and emphasis on following your dreams and never giving up to be incredibly powerful. On that note, those are the exact words of advice that she would offer young and aspiring professionals in the field of entertainment: follow your dreams and never give up.
Driven by the motivation to keep her husband’s memory alive and to continue his work, Ms. Dio considers her favorite aspect of her work to be finding new and exciting things to do, though she also notes that she loves absolutely everything she does. One recent fun development was when she was approached in 2021 by a company that wanted to make an “ugly Christmas sweater” featuring her husband, which she thought was fantastic and happily gave the go-ahead for. Above everything she has accomplished, Ms. Dio points to one particular moment as the highlight of her career. After her husband left Black Sabbath, they threw everything they had into developing Ronnie James Dio as his own performer and it was incredibly gratifying to see their hard work come to fruition when his first new album as a solo artist immediately shot to the top of the charts.