George Greeley, 89, composer

Pianist and arranger wrote 'Martian' theme

Pianist and arranger George Greeley, who composed the theme for “My Favorite Martian,” died of emphysema May 26 in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He was 89.

A memorial service will be held Friday, June 1 at 3 p.m. in the Faith Chapel at Forest Lawn Cemetery, 6300 Forest Lawn Dr., Los Angeles.

Born in Westerly, R.I., Greeley served during WWII conducting the Air Force band and entertaining the troops. He attended Juilliard School of Music, and entered the music biz after meeting Sy Oliver, Duke Ellington’s arranger. Oliver taught him the art of arranging for big bands and he joined the Tommy Dorsey band in Indianapolis, the same day Frank Sinatra became the band’s new vocalist. 

His career as a performing artist, arranger and conductor was launched when he was signed by Warner Brothers Records for a series of 15 albums based on the popular piano concertos.

Greeley played piano on the musical scores of hundreds of movies at Columbia Pictures, including “Picnic” and “The Eddy Duchin Story” (his hands were used when Tyrone Power sat at the piano in the movie).

As a musician on staff at Columbia, he wrote original music that appeared in such films as “Hellcats of the Navy,” “Good Day for a Hanging” and “Comanche Station.”

In the 1960s, he segued into television when he created the background music and theme for “My Favorite Martian” starring Ray Walston and Bill Bixby. The Martian theme, punctuated by the sound of the theremin, a high-pitched instrument, established an immediate recognition of the show and created almost a cult following of Martian fans. 

He is survived by two sons; his long time companion, Teri York; a brother and a sister.

More Music

  • DJ D- Nice'The New Edition Story'

    How DJ D-Nice's Club Quarantine Became an Isolation Sensation

    DJ D-Nice’s Instagram Live virtual dance parties have been the sensation of isolation, drawing upwards of 150,000 viewers — among them, both Democratic candidates, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, former first lady Michelle Obama, Drake, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and even Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — and helping relieve anxiety during this time of stress [...]

  • Cardi B Joe Exotic

    Cardi B Pledges to Start a GoFundMe for Joe Exotic From Netflix's 'Tiger King'

    Cardi B, like most people in the world, is hooked on Netflix’s “Tiger King.” Over the past couple of days, Cardi has been tweeting about the new docu-series, which follows the bizarre story of Joe Exotic, a private zoo owner with hundreds of exotic animals who ends up in jail for hiring a hitman to [...]

  • Sie7etr3: Dglo73, Djyeiiro73 (kneeling), Fetti031, Youngkilla73,

    Latin Label Sie7etr3 Partners With Caroline for Distribution

    Caroline and Latin label Sie7etr3 have entered into a worldwide distribution pact. Sie7etr3 The Label (known as Siete Tres or 73) is home to Chucky73, Fetti031, Youngkilla73 and Dglo73. “Dili” by Chucky73 and Fetti031, which dropped January 17, is the Bronx-based label’s first release under the new partnership. Future releases and label services will be [...]

  • Brad "Scarface" Jordan, Michele Lemon. In

    Rapper Scarface on Living With Coronavirus: 'I'm Scared to Death'

    Rapper Scarface gave an emotional account of his time in isolation since testing positive for the coronavirus. Scarface, whose real name is Brad Jordan, was interviewed by Atlanta rapper Ludacris on Instagram Live on March 27. Some three thousand people tuned in for the 20-minute chat. “I’m scared to death,” said Scarface, who on Thursday [...]

  • Dua Lipa album cover Future Nostalgia

    Dua Lipa's 'Future Nostalgia': Album Review

    Is it wrong, right now, to be as happy as Dua Lipa’s second album makes you? Is this any time to celebrate pop music at its most ebullient, when we should be bullish on meditation? Shouldn’t we be focusing our attention on weightier matters than how to all guiltlessly throw ourselves a solo disco party? [...]

  • Future Man Season 3 Trailer

    TV News Roundup: Hulu Releases 'Future Man' Final Season Trailer (Watch)

    In today’s TV News Roundup, Hulu released a trailer for the third and final season of “Future Man,” and Fox and iHeartRadio’s upcoming concert special added Camila Cabello, Dave Grohl, H.E.R. and Sam Smith to its lineup. FIRST LOOKS Hulu has released a trailer for the third and final season of “Future Man.” As the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content