Jonie Taps, former VP and executive assistant to Columbia Pictures president and founder Harry Cohn and, along with George Jessel, one of the founding members of the California branch of the Friars Club, died Tuesdayof natural causes in Santa Fe, N.M. He was 89.
Born Aug. 31, 1908, in New York City, Taps attended Syracuse U. before following his father, music publisher David Taps, into the music business.
Taps eventually became general manager of Shapiro-Bernstein Music Publishing Co.
In 1945, Taps was recruited by Columbia Pictures to handle musical duties for “The Jolson Story.” He remained with the studio until 1974.
In 1956 he exec produced one of the year’s biggest hits, “The Eddy Duchin Story.”
During the 1970s, Taps served as the entertainment director at the California Friars Club, producing events in honor of Johnny Carson, Gene Kelly, Don Rickles, Buddy Hackett and many others.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a daughter, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Family suggests donations in Taps’ name be made to the West Coast chapter of the Friars Club.