Performer known for 'Guess Who I Saw Today'

Composer and performer Murray Grand died March 7 of emphysema in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87.

A veteran songwriter and composer/lyricist of the musical theater, as well as a performer in films and Manhattan nightclubs, Grand is best known for his song “Guess Who I Saw Today,” introduced by June Carroll in the classic Broadway musical revue “New Faces of 1952.”

The song was later recorded by Edie Gorme, Nancy Wilson, Carmen MacRae and Sarah Vaughan. He also wrote songs for the 1956, 1962 and 1968 editions of the “New Faces” revues. Other Grand songs that reached popularity included “Come By Sunday,” recorded by Jeri Southern; “Thursday’s Child,” recorded by Eartha Kitt and “Not A Moment Too Soon,” recorded by Mabel Mercer and Peggy Lee.

A native of Philadelphia, Grand started his career at the age of 15 as a pianist, then served in the U.S. Army Infantry during WWII, where he accompanied performers including Betty Grable, Gypsy Rose Lee, Beatrice Lillie and Alberta Hunter during USO military tours. Following the Army, he studied composition and piano at the Julliard School of Music and became the pianist at New York’s Fireside Inn.

His theater credits include “Triple Galo” in Paris and “The Dancing Heiress” in London. He wrote for Off-Broadway’s “Chic” in 1959 and 1969′s “Caesar’s Palace Revue” in Las Vegas. He collaborated with Patrick Dennis for the shows “Good Good Friends” and “First Lady” wrote the music for “Fountain of Youth,” based on the book by Ketti Frings.

As a performer, Grand appeared in films including “Jamboree,” “Diamond Stud,” “The Tempest” and “Moscow On the Hudson,” and was as a mainstay of such New York clubs as Upstairs at the Downstairs, Bon Soir The Village Green and, in recent years, Burt and Jack’s in Fort Lauderdale.

Grand’s last work was composing for the Joan Collins/Linda Evans revival tour of James Kirkwood’s “Legends.”

He was completing an autobiography, “Guess Who I Saw Today” at the time of his death.

Donations may be made to The Songwriters Guild of America, 6430 Sunset Blvd., #705, Hollywood, CA 90028, and The Actors’ Fund of America, 729 Seventh Avenue, l0th Fl., New York, NY 10019.

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