Pianist, composer and caberet entertainer Dickson Hughes died June 18 in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 82.
With his writing partner Richard Stapley, Hughes wrote the first musical version of “Sunset Boulevard” in 1953 for Gloria Swanson, although the show was never staged. In 1994, he re-worked the score and created a new show called “Swanson on Sunset,” which told the story of Swanson and the writers during the show’s creation in Palm Springs. The show played for six weeks at the Hollywood Roosevelt’s Cinegrill.
Born in Akron, Ohio, Hughes studied conducting in New York. His career included five years as conductor of the Sacramento Civic Light Opera, a South American tour with “Showboat” and “Carousel” and a solo tour of the U.S. with his concert “A History of the American Musical Theater.”
He also performed in the musical “Tamara” and played piano at the Ritz-Carlton.
He is survived by a brother.