EmptyAl Gallico, a music publisher for more than seven decades and a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, died May 15 of cardiac arrest and complications from pulmonary disease at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 88.
In 1953, Gallico became the GM for publisher Shapiro-Bernstein, running the company's New York and Nashville offices. His job was to get name artists to record the publisher's songs, and among the first of his big hits was Johnny Cash's "Ring of Fire."
He went on his own with the Al Gallico Music Corp. in 1963 and continued his success with the song "House of the Rising Sun" and other British imports. He signed songwriter Billy Sherrill, who amassed 89 top song awards from BMI, and the twosome eventually became business partners in Algee Music.
Other Gallico hits include "Stand by Your Man," "The Name Game," "The Happiest Girl in the Whole U.S.A.," "Time of the Season" and "Let Me Be There," which launched Olivia Newton-John's career.
The Gallico and Algee firms were sold in 1986 to Columbia Pictures Music.
A funeral service will be held at noon today at Forest Lawn in Los Angeles.
Sandy Howard, a producer whose credits include 1977's "The Island of Dr. Moreau" and the three films in the "A Man Called Horse" series, died May 16 from complications of Alzheimer's disease at the Motion Picture and Television Fund in Woodland Hills. He was 80.
Howard began as a publicist for Broadway shows before directing TV's "Howdy Doody" at age 19. He went on to produce "Captain Kangaroo," then became exec producer for "The Barry Gray Radio Show" from 1951-58.
In the '60s, Howard moved to Hollywood and produced more than 70 movies, including '70s films "Echoes of a Summer" with Jodie Foster; "Dr. Moreau," starring Burt Lancaster; and "Meteor" with Sean Connery.
John Phillip Law, the handsome 1960s movie actor who portrayed an angel in the futuristic "Barbarella" and a lovesick Russian seaman in "The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming" died May 13 at his Los Angeles home. He was 70. The cause of death was not announced.
With vivid eyes, blond hair and imposing physique, Law gained wide notice in 1966 with "Russians," Norman Jewison's Cold War comedy in which a Soviet submarine runs aground off a peaceful New England town. He played the sweet Russian youth who falls in love with a local American girl in the film.
French director Roger Vadim put Law's looks to good use in his 1968 sci-fi film "Barbarella," which starred Vadim's then-wife, Jane Fonda, as a sexy space traveler. Law wore wings to portray Pygar, a blind angel.
Other film roles included "Hurry Sundown" (1967), "The Hawaiians" (1970) and "The Red Baron" (1971).
John Rutsey, the original drummer for the Canadian rock band Rush, died May 11. He was 55.
In an obituary published in the Toronto Star, his family said his death was caused by "complications from his lifelong affliction with diabetes." Some news reports said Rutsey died of a heart attack in his sleep.
Rutsey played with Rush from 1968-74 as well as on the band's eponymous debut album, but he departed soon afterward, apparently because of the diabetes.
According to Rush's official biography, Rutsey was supposed to write the lyrics for the band's first album but grew dissatisfied with his attempts and never completed them. He was replaced by Neil Peart, who remains as the band's drummer and chief lyricist.
Bob Florence, a bandleader and sophisticated arranger who won a Grammy and two Emmys, died May 15 at Barlow Respiratory Hospital in Los Angeles after a lengthy bout with pneumonia, the Los Angeles Times reported. He was 75.
Florence was especially adept at writing for big jazz band instrumentation. His first assignments came in the late '50s as the big band era was giving way to vocal pop music and rock 'n' roll. He provided arrangements for Harry James, Louis Bellson, Sy Zentner and others.
Florence wrote and arranged for Julie Andrews, Jack Jones and Vicki Carr and worked on the TV variety shows of Red Skelton, Andy Williams and Dean Martin. In the late '70s, he began to perform locally with a large ensemble eventually labeled the Bob Florence Limited Edition, continuing until recently.
Zekial Marko, a veteran TV and film writer, died May 9 from complications related to emphysema in Centralia, Wash. He was 74.
Marko's television credits include episodes of "The Rockford Files," "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" and "Toma," and his screen credits include the 1965 film "Once a Thief," based on his novel. He had been a WGA West member since 1964.
Eloise Anna Anderson Shaffner, mother of John Shaffner, chairman and CEO of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, died May 2. She was 94.
Shaffner toured several years in a home product and cooking demonstration show. In Cleveland, she worked at one of the first TV stations in the country for a program called "Laugh With the Ladies."