Composer John Strauss, winner of Emmy, Grammy, dies

Worked on Milos Forman, Woody Allen films

Emmy and Grammy-winning composer and producer John Strauss died Feb. 14 in Los Angeles of Parkinson’s disease. He was 90.

Strauss’ television career included writing the theme song and serving as music supervisor for “Car 54, Where Are You?” and “The Phil Silvers Show.” He was nominated for an Emmy in 1976 for sound editing on “The Boy in the Plastic Bubble,” then won in 1977 for “The Amazing Howard Hughes.” He also worked as music editor on “L.A. Law.”

In film, Strauss was music coordinator for the original “The Heartbreak Kid” and four films by Milos Forman: Oscar winner “Amadeus,” in which he also appeared as a conductor; “Hair”; “Ragtime” and “Valmont,” for which he also composed part of the score.

He worked on several Woody Allen films, serving as music editor for “Take the Money and Run” and “Bananas” and as sound editor for “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex.”

In addition he was music editor for “Slaughterhouse-Five,” “The Blues Brothers,” “Zoot Suit” and “The Pirates of Penzance.”

He also produced the soundtrack album for “Amadeus,” for which he won the 1984 Grammy for classical album.

Legit credits include a song from the Broadway musical “Pickwick.”

Strauss was born in New York City and served in WWII, after which he studied music at Yale. While teaching at New York’s High School for the Performing Arts in the early 1950s, he composed two ballets that featured choreography by Robert Joffrey. His most prestigious TV assignment was a half-hour opera, “The Accused,” which aired on CBS in 1961.

He was married to actress Charlotte Rae. He wrote arrangements for her 1955 album Songs “I Taught My Mother” and collaborated with her on various cabaret shows. They divorced in 1975; subsequently he became life partners with artist Lionel Friedman, who died in 2003.

Strauss is survived by a son and three grandchildren.

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