Randy Rayburn, songwriter, arranger, long time rehearsal pianist at MGM Studio and music librarian at Universal Studio, died of heart failure at his Fresno home on July 23, just shy of his 98th birthday.
Bonne Terre, Mo., native moved to Riverside, Calif. with his family in 1910. He began his musical career working with local area dance bands as a pianist. By 1929, when he graduated from with a degree in business administration USC, Rayburn was working with a traveling orchestra throughout the western states.
In 1936, he started what turned out to be a very long career at MGM Studio as a rehearsal pianist. By the time the studio was sold in 1970, Rayburn had worked on scores of great Hollywood musicals. During his studio career, Rayburn also worked at Fox, Columbia, RKO and Warner Bros., working with hundreds of stars, including Fred Astaire, Ginger Rodgers, Gene Kelley, Judy Garland, Ann Miller, Esther Williams, Mickey Rooney, Debbie Reynolds, Rosemary Clooney, Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Frank Sinatra, Shirley Temple, Donald O’Connor and Elvis Presley.
During WWII, he toured with the USO, entertaining troops stationed in Alaska and the Aleutian Islands
At age 65, not ready for retirement after 34 years with MGM, he joined the music department at Universal Studio in 1970, where he worked another 25 years. He finally retired at age 90.
Rayburn was a longtime member of Musicians Local 47, having first joined the union around 1930.
Survivors include his wife Donna, whom he married in 1936, a daughter, a son, five grandchildren and five great- grandchildren.