Tuesday, July 16, 2024

RIP Elliot Lawrence, 96, Won 9 Emmy Awards, 1 Tony, Jazz Composer, Big Band Leader, the Bernard Herrmann of Soap Operas


The composer, jazz musician, big band leader, Elliot Lawrence, died on July 2nd at age 96. He won 9 Emmy awards in his lifetime and a Tony Award. (He was nominated twice.)

Lawrence was musical director for 10 Broadway shows including “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying,” “1776,” and “Bye Bye Birdie.”

Because of his amazing resume, he would probably laugh that I’m citing this, but he was what I would call the Bernard Herrmann of soap operas. From the mid 70s to the mid 80s he was the composer and music director for the Procter & Gamble soaps, “The Edge of Night,” “As the World Turns,” “Guiding Light,” and “Search for Tomorrow.”

Here’s a great interview with Lawrence.  

Working like Hermann with a little Henry Mancini thrown in, Lawrence what might be the quintessential soap theme for “The Edge of Night.” Gothic and mysterious, the theme stood on its own as a little work of genius. Contemporary to it was his update for “As the World Turns.”

Here’s the link to his official obit.

First, listen to his “real” work, like this beautiful jazz composition from 1958

and “Elevation,” his jazz hit collaboration with Gerry Mulligan

and then who knew that soap operas would benefit from his musicianship?

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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