For nearly three decades, Mike Novak's name was synonymous with entertainment in the Detroit area.
During his career the Troy-based attorney, a resident of Grosse Point Shore, represented the likes of artists such as Bob Seger and Kid Rock, media personalities Ken Calvert, Mike Stone and the team of Drew Laine and Mike Clark, and venues like the Magic Bag in Ferndale and Jeff Daniels' Purple Rose Theater in Chelsea.
"Mike got along with everybody, and that's what made him so successful," said Lee Wulfmeir, a close friend and colleague at the Troy firm of Giarmarco, Mullins & Horton, where Novak was of counsel. "I never heard anyone say a bad work about Mike, ever -- and rightfully so. He was one of the kindest, most endearing people, and he was always concerned about his clients."
Novak, 57, passed away on Sunday, Jan. 27, from a heart attack following a workout at home.
"Mike was a great man," Kid Rock said. He loved what he did, loved music and loved Detroit. I will miss him."
Bloomfield Hills-based entertainment attorney Howard Hertz added, "Mike brought a keen sense of business, law and creativity to negotiations. I worked with Mike on many occasions over the years and always appreciated the knowledge and humor he brought to the table. He will be missed by many."
Novak's Facebook page was flooded with tributes as news of hi death spread. Seger's wife Nita posted a note reading, "Words can't express our deep sadness and the tremendous sense of loss. Always a smile and always so upbeat...The world has lost a truly amazing guy." Martin "Tino" Gross of the Howling Diablos called Novak "the sweetest guy in the world," while Jimmie Bones, keyboardist in Kid Rock's Twisted Brown Trucker Band, noted that Novak was "a treasure...a talented musician, a passionate fan and most of all a beautiful human being."
Novak indulged his passion for the arts early, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film studies at New York University in 1977 before getting his law degree from Wayne State University in 1980. Licensed to practice in both Michigan and California, Novak was mentored by Detroit entertainment attorney T. Patrick Freydl and served as a senior vice-president and general counsel for Brass Ring Productions from 1985-2002 before devoting full-time to his own practice. Out of the office, and the courtroom, Novak -- who was included in the 2012 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America.could be found at clubs, in casinos or on the golf course, where his partners included Seger.
"He was a much better golfer in his mind than in real life," Wulfmeir noted. "But he was a ball to play with. He was never happier than when he was out there -- give him a beautiful day, a cigar, golf clubs and he was a happy man."
Novak is survived by his wife, Loretta, two brothers and a sister Funeral arrangements are pending.
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