Perry Botkin Jr., Grammy-Winning Arranger of "Nadia's Theme," Dies at 87

Perry Botkin, Jr.
Courtesy of Lillian Elaine Wilson

Perry Botkin Jr.

The Oscar nominee also did music for 'Happy Days' and 'Mork and Mindy' and arranged Glen Campbell's "Wichita Lineman."

Perry Botkin Jr., the prolific film and TV composer, arranger and producer known for his themes to Happy Days, Mork and Mindy and The Young and the Restless — a tune forever associated with famed Olympic gymnast Nadia Comăneci — has died. He was 87.

Botkin died Monday at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, his publicist announced. No cause of death was provided.

His career spanned four decades and also included work for such other TV programs as Laverne and Shirley, Adam's Rib, The Smothers Brothers Show and Quark.

Botkin's iconic theme for the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless was retitled "Nadia's Theme" when ABC's Wide World of Sports used it in a montage during the 1976 Summer Olympics, where the Romanian Comăneci, then 14, scored several perfect 10s en route to three gold medals. The track earned Botkin a Grammy for best instrumental arrangement in 1977.

Also among his credits were "Wichita Lineman," a big hit for Glen Campbell, and "Rhythm of the Rain," which The Cascades took to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1963.

He scored such films as They Only Kill Their Masters (1972), Skyjacked (1972), Goin’ South (1978), Tarzan the Ape Man (1981) and Bless the Beasts and Children (1971), for which he received a best original song Oscar nom for the title tune that was performed by The Carpenters.

Botkin also worked as an arranger with producers including Phil Spector and Van Dyke Parks and with artists like Dory Previn, Barbra Streisand, Sammy Davis Jr., Bobby Darin, Jack Jones, Peggy Lee, The Association, The Everly Brothers, The Supremes, The Ronettes, Connie Stevens, Jose Feliciano, Bobby Gentry and Paul Williams.

Botkin and business partner George Tipton discovered singer-songwriter Harry Nilsson, who was working at a bank at the time, and signed him to his first publishing contract.

Born in New York, Botkin began his career as a trombone player in a high school jazz quartet alongside John Williams, the now-legendary film composer. In 1955, he joined a vocal group called The Cheers, which had a hit with "Black Denim Trousers."

His father, Perry Botkin Sr., composed the underscore for The Beverly Hillbillies and played guitar and banjo in Bing Crosby’s band, also appearing in several movies with him. In 1956, father and son guest-starred on The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

His other projects included composing commercial jingles for American Airlines, Baskin Robbins, Chevron and Mattel.

Botkin's music was recently heard on the soundtrack to the 2017 action thriller Baby Driver.

He is survived by his wife Liza, son David, and grandson Daniel Tyler Botkin.