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Pete Jolly


Keyboardist Pete Jolly died November 6 in Pasadena of bone marrow cancer. He was 72.

Jolly, whose composition “Little Bird” was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1963, formed the Pete Jolly Trio in 1964 with the drummer Nick Martinis and the bassist Chuck Berghofer. The group continued to play Southern California clubs until Mr. Jolly was hospitalized in August.

He played piano, organ and accordion for television theme songs including “Get Smart,” “The Love Boat,” “I Spy,” Mannix,” “Dallas” and “MASH,” as well as on hundreds of movie soundtracks, including “The Man With the Golden Arm” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.”

His recordings included “The Sensational Pete Jolly Gases Everybody” (1963), “Strike Up the Band” (1980) and “Yeah!” (1995). His last album, “Collaboration,” was recorded with the Swedish pianist Jan Lundgren and released in 2001.

Born Peter Ceragioli Jr. in New Haven, Conn., Jolly began playing the accordion at 3. At 7, he appeared on the coast-to-coast radio broadcast “Hobby Lobby,” on which the announcer mispronounced his name as “Pete Jolly.”

Jolly, whose father was also a musician, began playing in bands in junior high school. Over the years, he worked with jazz stars including Buddy DeFranco, Red Norvo and Art Pepper.

He is survived by his wife Lillian, three sons and three grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the American Cancer Society or the American Heart Assn.

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