Composer Ralph Blane, who with partner Hugh Martin penned such standards as “The Trolley Song” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” died Nov. 13 in Broken Arrow, Okla., after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease. He was 81.
Blane, whose full name was Ralph Blane Hunsecker, began his career in the 1930s.
Blane and Martin had formed a singing quartet called the Martins and appeared regularly on Fred Allen’s radio show.
Blane also worked as a vocal arranger for Broadway shows including “Cabin in the Sky,” “Pal Joey” and “DuBarry Was a Lady,” and he wrote the words and music for “Three Wishes for Jamie.”
In 1941 Martin and Blane wrote songs for “Best Foot Forward,” which was made into an MGM musical two years later.
They wrote for other MGM musicals, including “My Dream is Yours,” “My Blue Heaven” and “One Sunday Afternoon.”
The team’s big year came in 1944, when they were nominated for an Academy Award for “The Trolley Song,” from the Judy Garland starrer “Meet Me in St. Louis.” The film’s score also included “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.
In 1947 Blane, Martin and Roger Edens wrote the words and music to “Pass That Peace Pipe,” for the MGM film “Good News,” which garnered a second Oscar nomination.
Additional films with songs by Blane included “Summer Holiday,” “Athena,” “Skirts Ahoy” and “The Girl Rush.”
When a new stage version of “Meet Me in St. Louis” was produced in 1989, it featured 10 new songs by Martin and Blane.
Blane is survived by a son.