EmptyEarle Hagen, the Emmy-winning composer of some of the most memorable musical themes in TV history and the man whistling the theme song of "The Andy Griffith Show," died May 26 of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 88.
In addition to writing the folksy "Andy Griffith Show" tune, Hagen penned the themes for "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Danny Thomas Show," "I Spy," "That Girl," "The Mod Squad" and "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer," many for famed TV director Sheldon Leonard.
Hagen composed original music for more than 3,000 episodes during his TV career, which spanned more than three decades.
The composer also was active in films, mostly as an arranger and orchestrator for Fox. He received a 1960 Oscar nomination (shared with Lionel Newman) as musical director for the Marilyn Monroe film "Let's Make Love" and worked on "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "There's No Business Like Show Business."
Hagen, who played trombone with the Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey orchestras, composed the jazz standard "Harlem Nocturne." Written in 1939 for big-band leader Ray Noble, the tune went on to be recorded by Les Brown, Glenn Miller, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Ray Anthony and many other bands.
Hagen penned one of the first how-to books for aspiring film composers and later led the film-scoring workshop for performing-rights organization BMI for a decade in the 1980s and '90s.
Lawrence Roman, who wrote "Under the Yum Yum Tree" for Broadway and the big screen and penned John Wayne's first detective feature film, died May 18 of a stroke complicated by kidney failure at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills. He was 86.
Roman received a Peabody Award in 1993 for his Disney Channel screenplay "The Ernest Green Story," the story of the Little Rock Nine as they integrated schools in Arkansas.
Roman wrote his first feature film, "Vice Squad" (1953), starring Edward G. Robinson. His other films during that decade included "A Kiss Before Dying" (1956), starring Robert Wagner and Joanne Woodward, and "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" (1957), starring Richard Egan and Walter Matthau.
Roman adapted his Broadway hit "Yum Yum Tree," starring Gig Young and Sandra Church, for the 1963 film that starred Jack Lemmon. He followed up on Broadway with "P.S. I Love You" (1964), starring Geraldine Page. In 1966, Roman wrote the screenplay for "The Swinger," starring Ann-Margret, and two years later adapted George Plimpton's "Paper Lion."
For the Wayne starrer "McQ" (1974), Roman also co-produced.
John Friedkin, a veteran publicist and studio executive, died May 11 of respiratory failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 81.
With his business partner Gary Sumner, Friedkin represented many of the young writers producer Fred Coe had discovered for the landmark live drama series "Playhouse 90" on CBS, including Paddy Chayefsky and Horton Foote. Other clients included Tony Bennett, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein, Benny Goodman and Buddy Hackett.
In 1967, Friedkin joined Fox, where he worked on "Star Wars" and "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," among other films. In 1979, he moved to Warner Bros. and later served as a consultant with New Line Cinema, Sony Pictures Classics and Miramax.
Friedkin served as unit publicist on George Miller's "Babe," which received seven Oscar noms, including one for his son, editor John Friedkin. (partialdiff)