Ron Grant, a composer who won an Oscar and an Emmy for developing the software used by many film and TV composers to create precise timings for their scores, died of septic shock from a liver abscess on Friday night at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 72.
Grant, together with his brother Richard Grant, received a 1985 Emmy and a 1986 Oscar for their invention of the Auricle Time Processor (which Emmy officials described as “a computer system that enables a music composer to score a program with speed and accuracy previously unattainable”). It was the first software application to receive a scientific and engineering Oscar. Still in use today, it remains one of the most popular music-technology tools in Hollywood.
Grant also designed the current voting procedure for the music branch of the Television Academy, which assures that every single entry is viewed and judged by a minimum of six fellow branch members. The system, instituted in 1996, is widely considered the most rigorous in the Academy.
He was a three-time Daytime Emmy nominee for his music for animated series: in 2000 for a song for “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective”; and in 1998 and 1999 for music direction and composition for the “The Spooktacular New Adventures of Casper.” He received a 1997 Annie nomination for his “Casper” music. He also penned music for the animated “Tiny Toon Adventures,” “Mother Goose and Grimm,” and “The Plucky Duck Show.”
Among his live-action credits as composer were more than 40 episodes of “Knots Landing” as well as episodes of “Berrenger’s,” “Sledge Hammer!,” and “Pee-wee’s Playhouse”; TV movies “Air Time,” “The Boy From Napoli,” and “The Accident”; and features including “Curly Sue,” “Say Yes,” “The Kid From Not-So-Big,” and “In Dark Places.”
He was born Oct. 16, 1944 in New York City, the son of Life magazine photographer Allan Grant. The family moved to southern California when he was 2. He attended Santa Monica City College and Cal State Northridge, and learned to play the guitar, flute, and piano.
He was just 23 when he earned his first composing credit, for “What Color Is the Wind,” a film made by his father and aired in 1968 on “NBC Experiment in Television”; his second credit was for Art Napoleon’s low-budget film about antiwar protestors, “The Activist,” in 1969.
Grant served from 1996 to 2000 as a governor of the TV Academy music branch, and for more than 25 years on the board of directors for the Society of Composers & Lyricists. He designed SCL’s logo and served as the organization’s unofficial video archivist, shooting and editing SCL ceremonies, conferences, and events from the early 1990s.
In 2009 he wrote, with Ron Ovadia (lyricist for the “Ace Ventura” song), the children’s book “First Dog of 1600 Poochlvania Avenue.”
He is survived by his wife Benida; daughters Lea and Alycia; brother Richard; and a nephew. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
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