EmptyRay Ellis, a composer who also arranged such classics as "Chances Are" by Johnny Mathis, "Splish Splash" by Bobby Darin and "Standing on the Corner" by the Four Lads, died Oct. 27 in Encino of complications from melanoma. He was 85.
During a career that spanned almost 65 years, the Philadelphia native also arranged for acts including Billie Holiday, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand, Lena Horne, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Connie Francis, Doris Day, the Drifters, Ray Price, Bette Midler, Barry Manilow and Adam Sandler.
Ellis, in collaboration with his son Marc, wrote original music for many of the animated series produced by Filmation Studios, along with the original "Spider-Man" cartoon, "NBC Nightly News" and "Today." Father and son also created music for game shows including "Sale of the Century."
In the late 1940s and early '50s, Ellis played tenor sax in the Gene Krupa Band and the Paul Whiteman Band and recorded instrumental albums under the Ray Ellis and His Orchestra banner for Columbia and RCA Records.
Saul "Pete" Pryor, a lawyer who represented some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, died Oct. 23 in Denver. He was 92.
Pryor, co-founder of New York law firm Pryor Cashman, represented such top-name talent as Duke Ellington, Bob Dylan, Paul Newman, Neil Diamond, Peter, Paul & Mary, Simon & Garfunkel, Petula Clark, the Lovin' Spoonful, Tony Bennett, Jerry Lewis, the Brothers Four and Allen Funt of "Candid Camera" fame.
Pryor was one of the leading American lawyers in dealing with the Japanese entertainment industry. He played a key role in the joint venture between Warner Bros. and Pioneer Electronics, the latter being a longstanding client, and worked closely with Tetsu Aoyagi of Japan Licensing Corp.
Estelle Reiner, the matriach of one of Hollywood's great families of comedians, died Oct. 25 in Beverly Hills. She was 94.
The wife of actor-director Carl Reiner and mother of actor-director Rob Reiner uttered one of the most memorable lines in movie history.
In 1989's "When Harry Met Sally … ," directed by her son, Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal sit in a restaurant, arguing over whether women can realistically fake orgasms. After Ryan's vocal and convincing display, Reiner, playing a customer at a nearby table, quickly says, "I'll have what she's having." The American Film Institute ranked that line No. 33 on its list of the top 100 movie quotes.
Reiner was 65 when she began a career as a jazz singer. During the next 28 years, she recorded seven albums and performed in New York and Los Angeles.
Brent Wilson, who managed a diverse roster of performers that included the King Sisters and Billy Barty, died Oct. 24 in Los Angeles after a long illness. He was 82.
Wilson, an original member of the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences in 1957, frequently booked local jazz singer Johnny Mathis as MCA's booking agent in the San Francisco area.
By the late '50s, Wilson was soloing as a personal manager in Los Angeles with pioneering pedal steel guitarist Alvino Rey, comedian-impressionist Dick Kerr, Kirby Grant (star of TV's "Sky King") and a reinvigorated lineup of the big band-era King Sisters quartet.
In the mid-'60s, Wilson operated the entertainment side of the Sahara Tahoe casino in Stateline, Nev. Later projects included collaborations with trumpeter Al Hirt and actor Ted Neely of "Jesus Christ Superstar" fame.
Chris Bryant, a screenwriter whose credits include "The Girl From Petrovka" and Nicolas Roeg's "Don't Look Now" in the 1970s, died suddenly Oct. 27 at his home in Burford, England. He was 72.
His credits included Mike Newell's "The Awakening" (1980); "Golden Rendezvous" (1977), starring Richard Harris; "Lady Jane" (1986), starring Helena Bonham Carter; and the 1993 telefilm "Foreign Affairs," starring Joanne Woodward and Brian Dennehy.
Bryant also worked as an actor, lawyer, comedian, teacher and television host.