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Composer Mort Lindsey dies at 89

Was musical director for Judy Garland, Merv Griffin

Orchestra leader, arranger, composer and musical director Mort Lindsey died in his Malibu home on Friday, May 4. He was 89 and had been in declining health since breaking his hip.

Lindsey was musical director for Judy Garland’s performances at Carnegie Hall. “Judy at Carnegie Hall,” the live album documenting her April 23, 1961, concert appearance spent 73 weeks on the Billboard chart, including 13 weeks at No. 1, and went on to win four Grammy Awards including album of the year. It has since been added to the National Recording Registry by the Library of Congress.

Lindsey spent 25 years as musical director for “The Merv Griffin Show” from 1962-1986. During his time as bandleader, he was twice nominated for Emmy Awards for outstanding achievement in music direction of a variety, musical or dramatic program.

He also scored films including “40 Pounds of Trouble,” “I Could Go On Singing” and “The Best Man” in the early 1960s and Albert Brooks’ “Real Life” in 1979.

Lindsey received an Emmy for his musical work on the TV concert documentary “A Happening in Central Park” starring Barbra Streisand.

Born in Newark, N.J., Lindsey received a doctorate degree in music education from Columbia U.

He is survived by his wife Judy, three sons and three daughters Bonney, Deborah, and Judy.

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