Philip Moody dies at 89

Composed for film, Vegas

British-born conductor, arranger and song writer Philip Moody died in Palm Springs on Aug. 22 after a brief illness. He was 89.

Born in Southampton, England, he was a graduate of the Royal Academy of Music. He entertained the British armed forces, performed in concert with many of England’s top entertainers and appeared on British radio. From there, he began to write for motion pictures. After working on the film “London Town,” he was brought to the U.S. by MCA and teamed with touring act the Sherrell Sisters. When the sister act disbanded, he married one sister and formed a successful songwriting partnership with the other.

In the U.S., Moody composed film scores for “Three Nuts in Search of a Bolt” and “Love Me Deadly” and contributed songs and cues to other films including “So This Is Paris,” “Carnival Story,” “Paris Follies of 1956,” “The Second Greatest Sex” and “Footprints on the Moon,” a documentary about the Apollo 11 landing that featured Moody’s composition “The Laguna Concerto.”

In the ’70s, Moody’s musical-composing piano talents took him to Las Vegas, where he created music and performed at the Desert Inn, Stardust, Sahara, and Flamingo hotels with such stars as Betty Grable, Jimmy Durante, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Mamie Van Doren, Debra Paget, Margaret Whiting, the Ritz Brothers and Mae West, whose nightclub act he and sister-in-law Pony Sherrell co-wrote. He also worked with opera great Helen Traubel.

When the MGM Grand hotel opened in Reno, Moody became the hotel’s music director and conducted Donn Arden’s stage spectacular “Hello, Hollywood, Hello.”

In 1980, he and his wife Grace moved to Palm Springs and opened Moody’s Supper Club, a cabaret bistro featuring original Broadway revues.

Moody is survived by a daughter and a brother.

A musical celebration of life is to be announced. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Assn.

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