Sunday, June 17, 2012

Remembering Jerry Fielding

Jerry Fielding was born Joshua Itzhak Feldman on June 17, 1922 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Feldman, who was born to non-musical immigrants from Russia. Jerry Fielding was a composer, arranger, and conductor of music for the big bands, radio, television, and films.  With an introduction from his Pittsburgh mentor Max Adkins, Jerry became the arranger for the Alvino Ray.  During the 1940s he arranged for Kay Kaiser, Tommy Dorsey, Les Brown and other big bands.  In the late 1940’s he was the band leader for several popular radio programs. In 1951 to 1953 he was the band leader of Groucho Marx’s “You Bet Your Life” TV show.  Blacklisted from Hollywood by Senator McCarthy in 1953 he worked in Los Vegas, toured with his band, released three albums on Decca, and arranged and conducted albums for Kathy Barr, Pat Boone, Debbie Reynolds and Betty Hutton.  With the blacklist lifted in 1961 he returned to Hollywood to write his first film score for Otto Preminger’s “Advise and Consent”.  He worked on several films scores for Clint Eastwood, Sam Peckinpah and other directors that included the films, the Demon Seed, the Wild Bunch, Straw Dogs, The Killer Elite, The Getaway, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Gauntlet, Escape from Alcatraz, and The Bad News Bears.  In television he wrote the theme songs McHale's Navy, Hogan's Heroes, Run, Buddy, Run, and The Bionic Woman.  Fielding also worked on soundtracks for the TV shows Star Trek, He & She, The Good Guys, McMillan and Wife, and The Snoop Sisters. Fielding died on February 17, 1980 at the age of 57 from a heart attack followed by congestive heart failure while in Toronto, Canada ironically working on the score of a motion picture titled “Funeral Home”. Fielding scored two Euro-westerns: “Chato’s Land” and “Lawman” both 1971. Today we remember Jerry Fielding on what would have been his 90th birthday.

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