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Gil Melle

Composer

Gil Melle, the pioneering electronic-music composer who scored “The Andromeda Strain,” “Night Gallery” and “Fatal Vision,” died of a heart attack Oct. 28 in Malibu. He was 72.

Funeral services for Melle will be held at 4 p.m. Monday at Our Lady of Malibu church in Malibu.

Melle, who was also a jazz saxophonist and respected visual artist, was perhaps best known as a cutting-edge creator of electronically generated music.

His 1970 theme for “Night Gallery” was the first all-electronic main title for a TV series, and his music for 1971 sci-fi thriller “The Andromeda Strain” became the first all-synthesizer score for a feature film.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Melle also composed traditional orchestral music for TV. He scored the TV movies “My Sweet Charlie,” “That Certain Summer,” four early episodes of “Columbo” and the first four episodes of the cult series “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.”

His music lent itself to sci-fi and horror projects, including orchestral scores for the pilot of “The Six Million Dollar Man” and the four-hour “Frankenstein: The True Story” (1973), which he recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra.

Melle created landmark electronic scores for sci-fi TV movies including “A Cold Night’s Death” and the four-hour “World War III.” He wrote and performed music for several telefilms dealing with sensational murders, including “Fatal Vision,” Ted Bundy story “The Deliberate Stranger” and “The Case of the Hillside Strangler.”

He was born in 1931 in Jersey City, N.J., and signed with Blue Note Records as a jazz performer at age 19. His artistic abilities also led to album-cover paintings for Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Sonny Rollins, as well as art-gallery showings in New York.

Melle and his group, the Electronauts, debuted electronic jazz at the 1967 Monterey Jazz Festival. The following year, Verve released his “Tome VI,” the first all-electronic jazz album. His last album was “Mindscape” in 1991.

He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Denise; a daughter and three sisters.

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