Grand dies at 87
EmptyMurray Grand, a composer, lyricist and performer on Broadway and in London and Las Vegas who wrote the song "Guess Who I Saw Today," died March 7 of emphysema at St. John's Health Center in Santa Monica. He was 87.
Grand wrote the song for the Broadway musical revue "New Faces of 1952." It was recorded by Eydie Gorme, Nancy Wilson, Carmen McRae and Sarah Vaughan.
His songs include "April in Fairbanks," "Hurry," "Thursday's Child," "I'd Rather Cha-Cha Than Eat," "Come by Sunday," "The Pergola" and "Not a Moment Too Soon."
A mainstay of such New York clubs as Upstairs at the Downstairs, Bon Soir and the Village Green, Grand was featured in the motion pictures "Jamboree," "Diamond Stud," "The Tempest" and "Moscow on the Hudson."
Bill Chinnock, a founding member of what became Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, died March 7 in Yarmouth, Maine. He was 59.
Chinnock had Lyme disease, and his manager Paul Pappas said he committed suicide.
The guitarist, keyboardist, singer and songwriter was a key figure in the Asbury Park, N.J., music scene that propelled Springsteen to stardom.
A blues and roots rock stylist, Chinnock moved to Maine in the 1970s. He made 13 albums and in 1987 won an Emmy for his song "Somewhere in the Night." A duet he later recorded with Roberta Flack was used for the soap opera "Guiding Light."
Edgar Baitzel, who was brought to the Los Angeles Opera six years ago by Placido Domingo and led the company to financial success as COO, died March 11 of cancer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 51.
During his six-year tenure, the Los Angeles Opera went from 66 scheduled performances in the 2001-02 season to the current 77.
Baitzel presided over the creation of four to five new productions in each of those seasons, including the world premieres of Puccini's "Turandot" with a new ending by Luciano Berio in 2002, Deborah Drattell's "Nicholas and Alexandra" in 2003 and Elliot Goldenthal's "Grendel" in 2006.
Baitzel also helped bring collaborations with Hollywood and Broadway directors including Maximilian Schell, Julie Taymor, William Friedkin, Garry Marshall and Vincent Patterson.
Leonard Gaines, an actor, producer and writer, died Feb. 15 at his home in West Hollywood. He was 84.
With Mike Todd Jr., Gaines produced "America Be Seated," one of the first integrated musical revues, for the New York World's Fair in 1964.
In the 1960s, he wrote and produced several comedy records including "At Home With That Other Family" in 1962. A takeoff on a popular album about the Kennedy family, it focused on the Soviet first family.
In the early '70s, Martin Scorsese cast Gaines in his first film acting role as a record label president opposite Robert De Niro and Liza Minnelli in "New York, New York." In 1978, Gaines executive produced "Going in Style," starring George Burns, Art Carney and Lee Strasberg.
His acting credits include "Blue Collar," "Hardcore," "Rocky II," "Where the Buffalo Roam," "The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai Across the 8th Dimension," "The Idolmaker," "For the Boys," and "Scent of a Woman."
Mike Ferra, a camera operator who developed the Ferraflex line of cameras that are used in action film chase sequences, died March 4 in Los Angeles after a prolonged illness. He was 74.
Ferra landed a grip job at Warner Bros. in 1963 and became an assistant cameraman in the mid-'70s. As he moved up to camera operator, Ferra saw the need for specialized cameras and housings to meet the needs of action shoots, and he founded Ferraflex Minicam Systems Inc. as a second unit director of photography on movies and TV shows including "Meteor," "Below Utopia," "Flashfire," "The Mountain Men" and "Baby Makes Six."
He also worked with such figures as Steve McQueen.