Tributes

In Memoriam

Joan [de Beauvoir de Havilland] Fontaine at age 96 (12/15/2013) sister of Olivia de Havilland, danced with Fred Astaire in movie; "A Damsel in Distress."

Deanna Durbin at age 96 (04/20/2013) hugely popular film star and operatic soprano in 1930s and 1940s, she walked away from movies at age 27 -- at the peak of her career -- and never went back.

Rise Stevens at age 99 (03/21/2013) distinctive mezzo soprano, long associated with Met Opera, noted for her roles as Carmen, Delilah, Cherubino, Hansel, Dorabella, Mignon, Orfeo and Octavian.

Ravi Shankar at age 92 (12/11/2012). Noted sitar player, popularized Indian music in the West.

Phyllis Diller at age 95 (08/20/2012). She sang while making us laugh.

Tony Martin at age 98 (07/27/2012) popular crooner in '40s and '50s, who appeared in many films.

Celeste Holm at age 95 (07/15/2012). The original Ado Annie on Broadway in Oklahoma, duetted with Frank Sinatra in movie "High Society."

Dolores Hope
at age 102 (09/19/2011) active professional singer before becoming Mrs. Bob Hope.

Eugene Fodor at age 60 (02/26/2011). Famous American violinist who made international headlines in the 1970s after earning top prize in the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow. His frequent appearances on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson and ensuing press coverage made him one of the most well-known classical musicians to the general public.

Jane Russell at age 90 (2/15/11). Sang and danced in musical, "Gentlemen Prefer Blonds."

Betty Garrett at age 92 (02/12/2011). Sang and danced in musicals, "On the Town" and "Words and Music.".

Shirley Verrett at age 79. (11/05/2010). The vocally lustrous and dramatically compelling American artist began as a mezzo soprano and went on to sing soprano roles to international acclaim. Houses included the Met, La Scala, and the Opera Company of Boston. Among her most acclaimed roles were Leonora in Donizetti's Favorita, Azucena in Verdi's Don Carlo, Adalgiso in Bellini's Norma, Cassandra in Berlioz's Troyens, and title roles in Pucinni's Tosca and Bizet's Carmen.

Mitch Miller at age 99 (07/31/2010). Band leader and music company executive, host of TV show, "Sing Along with Mitch" in early 60s, he worked with many leading artists.

Wendell Logan at age 69 (06/15/2010). Founder of Oberlin College's Jazz Studies Department. Logan lived to see the dedication of the Bertram and Judith Kohl Building, Oberlin's new home for jazz studies, in which the lobby is named in Logan's honor.

Lena Horne at age 92 (05/09/2010). Legendary, enchanting jazz singer and actress whose striking beauty and magnetic appeal kept her a superstar at MGM and Fox Studios for over half a century.

Kathryn Grayson at 88 (02/18/2010). The lilting soprano who starred in the classic MGM musicals, "Show Boat," "Kiss Me Kate" and "Anchors Aweigh" died of natural causes. She was professionally lilnked with Howard Keel and Mario Lanza. When musicals declined in the I960s she appeared onstage in operas, "La Boheme" and "Madam Butterfly."

Dame Joan Alston Sutherland at age 83 (10/10/2010). Dubbed "La Stupenda" by opera lovers, Dame Joan's career spanned four decades, and included winning two Grammy Awards for the best classical performer in 1961 and 1981. She dazzled opera audiences across the globe with her dramatic coloratura soprano, and resurrected a number of forgotten works, including Massenet's "Le roi de Lahore" and "Esclarmonde."

Jean Simmons at age 80 (01/22/2010), sang with Marlon Brando in "Guys and Dolls" (1955). As Sarah Brown, a Salvation Army styled reformer, she was originally slated to lip-synch her songs. In rehearsal, producer Sam Goldwyn jokingly said: "You might as well wreck it with your own voice than somebody else's." So both she and Brando did their own singing, starting a new trend in filmed musicals.

Teddy Pendergrass at age 59 (01/14/2010), one of the most successful R & B singers in recent years.

Hale Smith at age 84 (11/24/2009), Classical composer, pianist, educator and arranger. He was one of the most notable American composers of the 20th Century. His awards included the BMI Composition Award, Cleveland Arts Prize, Honorary Doctorate form the Cleveland Institute of Music and Honorary Membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Jennifer Jones (Phyllis Isley) at age 90 (12/17/2009), actress that danced a sultry Latin Tango outside the cabaret in the film "Duel in the Sun".

Mickey Rooney born 09/23/1920 Legendary singer-dancer-actor whose career lasted 70 years.

Doris Day born 04/03/1922 d.5/13/2019. American actress, singer, animal activist. Recorded over 600 songs during late part of Golden Age of Hollywood.

Betty Allen (06/12/2009) renowned American operatic mezzo soprano who had an active international career during 1950-1990. She acquired a contralto-like darkening which can be heard in her recording of Prokofiev's Alexander Nevsky with conductor Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra. She became executive director of Harlem School of the Arts in 1972 and later president in 1992.

Louis Jourdan died 02/14/2015 at age 93; the picture of suave, he sang in film "Gigi."

Patrick Wayne Swayze at age 57 (09/14/2009), actor who dazzled audiences with his electrifying dancing skills in the film "Dirty Dancing".

Les Paul at age 94 (08/13/2009), guitar player extraordinaire ("Mocking Bird Hill"), who designed very popular guitars for the Gibson Company and pioneered the use of overdubbing in recordings.

Mary Travers at age 72 (06/16/2009), singer and "Mary" of "Peter, Paul and Mary".

Michael Joseph Jackson at age 42 (06/25/2009), musical legend and "King of Pop".

Al Livingston at age 91 (03/13/2009), President of Capitol Records.

Donald Erb at age 81 (08/12/2008) major avant-guarde composer of 1960s and '70s. He incorporated objects such as water-filled jugs, wine glasses, harmonicas and synthesizers into his acoustic and electronic scores, served as distinguished emer. prof. of composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music and Indiana University, and was president of the American Music Center in the early 1980s.

Issac Hayes at age 65 (08/10/2008) pioneering soul singer-songwriter who laid groundwork for disco and rap. Elected to Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, his "Theme From Shaft" won both Academy and Grammy Awards. Hayes died the day after Bernie Mac (Hayes' costar in 2008 film "Soul Men") also exspired. Early in his career Mac was opening stand up act for singers Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole.

Alice Chalioux at age 100 (08/2008) beloved principal harpist emer., Cleveland Orchestra. Served under the ensemble's first five conductors: Nikolai Sokoloff, Artur Rodzinski, Erich Leinsdorf, George Szell and Lorin Maazel. Was only female member of the orchestra for many years, and trailblazed the path for more women members in major U.S. orchestras.

Jo Stafford at age 90 (07/16/2008) whose wistful singing voice of the American homefront during WWII and Korean wars earned her the nickname "GI. Jo" for her beautiful recordings that conveyed steadfast devotion and reassurance with delicate understatement.

Evelyn Keyes at age 91 (07/04/2008) memorable as Julie Benson (approximating Al Jolson's wife Ruby Keeler) in the enormously successful '46 biopick, "The Jolson Story."

Cyd Charisse at age 86 (06/18/2008) legendary American ballet, tap and modern dancer, whose glamour, grace and class sizzled in some of Hollywood's greatest 50s musicals. Among her most memorable films were "The Band Wagon" (opposite Fred Astaire) and "It's Always Fair Weather" and "Brigadoon" (both opposite Gene Kelly).

Bo Diddley at age 79 (06/02/2008) noted American singer, songwriter and [triangular shaped] guitarist, often cited as key figure in transition from blues to rock and roll.

Earle Hagen at age 88 (05/28/2008) Emmy-winning American composer of many tv shows (including theme song of "Andy Griffith Show") and movies.

Alexander Courage at age 89 (05/15/2008) outstanding American orchestrator, arranger and composer (mainly at MGM studios). Frequently orchestrated films scored by Andre Previn and credited with many original scores for tv and film. Collaborated with John Williams during latter's tenure with the Boston Pops orchestra.

Eddy Arnold at age 89 (05/08/08) was one of the most successful country singers in history, and pioneer of "the Nashville Sound" (also called "countrypolitan," a mixture of country and pop styles). He was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1966.

Anthony Minghella at age 54 (03/18/2008) Oscar winning film director, also acclaimed as opera director (of Puccini's "Madam Butterfly") at the English and Lithuanian National Operas and Metropolitan Opera.

Giuseppi Di Stefano at age 86 (03/03/08) Operatic tenor whose career spanned from late 40s to early 70s. Admired for his excellent diction, unique timbre and passionate delivery, he often sang with Maria Callas.

Roy Schneider at age 75 (02/10/2008) noted Oscar-nominated actor who so memorably portrayed choreographer Bob Fosse in '79's fictionalized film bio, "All That Jazz."

Margaret Truman at age 83 (01/29/2008) American singer and only child of Harry S. Truman (33rd Pres. U.S.). Following a 1950 recital, Washington Post Music Critic Paul Hume wrote she was "extremely attractive on stage but cannot sing very well. She is flat a good deal of the time ..." Pres. Truman wrote back to Hume, "I have never met you, but if I do you'll need a new nose and plenty of beefsteak and perhaps a supporter below." From then on Margaret's concerts were sold out. She performed until the mid 1950s.

Heathcliff Andrew Ledger at age 28 (01/22/2008) in addition to his work as actor also founded a record company and directed music videos in connection with that enterprise.

Nanette Fabray at age 97 (02/22/2018) three-time Emmy Winner during TV's Golden Age, sang and danced in "The Band Wagon."

Clyde Otis
at age 83 (01/08/2008) noted songwriter, record producer and A&R rep for singers Brook Benton and Sarah Vaughan.

Eddy Arnold at age 90 (05/08/1998), legendary country singer.

Lauren Bacall born 09/16/24, Sang starring Broadway roles and won Tony Awards, respectively, in musicals Applause and Woman of the Year.

H. Leslie Adams

American Composers Alliance

PO Box 1108, New York, NY