EmptyTommy Johnson, a tuba player whose ominous notes put menace into the shark theme for the movie "Jaws," died Oct. 16 from complications of cancer and kidney failure at UCLA Medical Center. He was 71.
Johnson played on thousands of movie scores over nearly 50 years, including "The Godfather," the "Star Trek" series and "Titanic." He also did television work, made recordings and worked with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Academy Awards Orchestra and other Los Angeles musical groups.
Robert Thad Taylor, who founded the Shakespeare Society of America and the Globe Playhouse for Shakespearean theater in West Hollywood, died Oct. 5 of complications from heart disease at the Veterans Administration hospital in Los Angeles. He was 81.
Starting in the early 1970s, Taylor realized his dream of staging the 37 plays of William Shakespeare, raising the money for productions and filling in with his own savings. He repeated the cycle once, then expanded the theater's offerings to include plays related to Shakespeare's works.
The Globe Playhouse grew out of the Shakespeare Society of America, which Taylor launched in 1967. The first members included scholars, socialites and actors Edward G. Robinson and Robert Ryan. The society's headquarters was a Tudor-style mansion in West Hollywood. In 1971, however, Taylor and the Shakespeare Society were evicted.
He relocated to a corrugated metal warehouse on North Kings Road in West Hollywood and converted the space into a 99-seat partial replica of the Globe Theatre in London.
Leonid Hambro, a concert pianist who served for 10 years as Victor Borge's comedic sidekick and was known for his ability to commit to memory a huge repertoire, died Oct. 22 at his Manhattan home of complications from a fall. He was 86.
Hambro made more than 100 recordings and toured worldwide in addition to serving as the pianist of the New York Philharmonic. In 1970, he joined the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts as it was being founded and served there as associate dean for 20 years.
Marijohn Wilkin, a songwriter who helped pen such classics as "The Long Black Veil" and "One Day at a Time," died Oct. 28 in Nashville, three years after a triple-bypass heart operation had failed and she learned that she was not a candidate for another procedure. She was 86.
Wilkin was a founder of the Nashville Songwriters Assn., a nonprofit group that advocates for songwriters, and was dubbed "the den mother of Music Row." She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975. She is credited with discovering Kris Kristofferson, who called her a "tough, intelligent and funny woman making it in a man's world."
She moved to Nashville in 1958 and was signed as a songwriter by Cedarwood Publishing company. She scored her first major hit when she and John D. Loudermilk created "Waterloo" in 1959.
Art Baer, an Emmy-winning writer-producer, died Sept. 17 in Los Angeles from complications of cancer. He was 81.
Born in New York's Washington Heights, he graduated from New York University and began his career writing for "The Robert Q. Lewis Show," where he met his writing partner of 40 years, Ben Joelson.
Together they wrote more than 100 scripts for sitcoms, including "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "Gomer Pyle," "Get Smart," "The Odd Couple," "Alice," "The Jeffersons," "Hogan's Heroes," "Car 54, Where Are You?" and "Happy Days."
From 1977-85, Baer and Joelson were associated with Aaron Spelling Prods. as writers and executive producers of "The Love Boat."