Prolific composer Frank DeVol, who earned an Oscar nomination for 1967’s “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and wrote the theme music for the original “The Brady Bunch” and “My Three Sons” TV series, died Wednesday of natural causes in Lafayette, Calif. He was 88.
DeVol’s music career began in Canton, Ohio, in 1925, when he played violin in an orchestra accompanying silent motion picture screenings and vaudeville acts. He later performed with the Emerson Gill orchestra in Cleveland and toured the U.S. with the Alvino Ray orchestra. He moved into radio in 1935, writing arrangements for programs starring Rudy Vallee, Ginny Simms and Jack Carson.
In the 1940s, DeVol began recording for Capitol Records, Verve and Columbia Records. He wrote arrangements and conducted orchestras backing a host of celebrities including Ella Fitzgerald, Tony Bennett, Doris Day and Vic Damone.
His “Nature Boy” arrangement for Nat King Cole became a worldwide bestseller, and earned DeVol an executive position at Columbia Records.
In the early 1950s, DeVol formed his own band, “Music of the Century.” Vocalist Jaye P. Morgan, and later Helen O’Connell, led the group, which played regularly at the Hollywood Palladium.
He next embarked on a film and TV career, and received Oscar nominations for “Pillow Talk” (1959), “Hush … Hush, Sweet Charlotte” (1964) and “Cat Ballou” (1965).
DeVol also made guest acting appearances on the TV programs “I Dream of Jeannie,” “Bonanza” and “Petticoat Junction.”
He is survived by two daughters and two grandsons.
Memorial services will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at the Hollywood Hills Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Musicians Relief Fund, c/o Benefits Office, AFM, 817 N. Vine St., Hollywood, CA 90038.