Billy Goldenberg Useless: Emmy-Winning Composer and Songwriter Was 84


Billy Goldenberg, the Emmy-winning composer and songwriter, died Monday evening at his house in New York Metropolis. He was 84.

Goldenberg wrote the themes for such 1970s TV collection as “Kojak,” “Harry O” and “Rhoda,” composed the pilot scores for “Evening Gallery” and “Columbo,” and gained Emmys for the TV-movie “Queen of the Stardust Ballroom” and miniseries “The Lives of Benjamin Franklin,” “King” and “Rage of Angels.”

He expanded his 1975 “Queen of the Stardust Ballroom” music rating, with lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman, into the rating of the 1978 Broadway musical “Ballroom,” directed and choreographed by Michael Bennett of “A Refrain Line” fame. It earned eight Tony nominations together with Greatest Musical.

The prolific Goldenberg scored a few of tv’s most vital movies. Omitted from his record of 25 Emmy nominations have been his darkish and scary music for Steven Spielberg’s 1971 “Duel”; his mixture of digital and orchestral music for Rod Serling’s 1969 “Evening Gallery” pilot; and his grandly romantic 1971 “Ransom for a Useless Man,” the second “Columbo” pilot that bought the well-known Peter Falk collection.

His versatility was demonstrated by his banjo and guitar theme for the western “Alias Smith and Jones,” dignified French horns for the George Peppard thriller collection “Banacek,” eerie synthesizer sounds for “Ghost Story,” and the youngsters’s refrain he featured in “Rhoda.”

Goldenberg was born Feb. 10, 1936 in Brooklyn, the son of a violinist mom and percussionist father. He began piano at 5 and turned a protege of Broadway songwriter Frank Loesser (“Guys and Dolls”). Jobs as rehearsal pianist changed into dance preparations, orchestrations for TV exhibits like “Hullabaloo,” and incidental music for acts together with comedians Mike Nichols and Elaine Might.

He was musical director for “Elvis ’68,” Presley’s legendary comeback particular that reignited the pop star’s profession. He held related posts for TV specials starring Petula Clark, Leslie Uggams, Diana Ross and Ann-Margret. He additionally wrote a musical based mostly on Ray Bradbury’s “Dandelion Wine” that loved a quick New York run in 1967.

In late 1968, Goldenberg turned assistant to Common TV music director Stanley Wilson, who assigned him scores for collection as “Ironside,” “It Takes a Thief” and “The Title of the Recreation.” He met Spielberg on “Title of the Recreation” and later did the director’s tv work together with “Evening Gallery,” “Duel” and three installments of “Superb Tales” within the 1980s.

“They advised me to write down a rating for ‘Concern No Evil,’ a narrative about demonology,” he advised the Los Angeles Instances in 1976. “I believed, wow, I’m actually in over my head. I fearful lots, however I labored my tail off, experimenting till I discovered a option to mix romantic music with a powerful taste of horror. It clicked, and out of the blue I’d discovered a spot the place I belonged.”

He scored a number of options together with Presley’s “Change of Behavior,” “The Grasshopper,” “Purple Sky at Morning,” Woody Allen’s “Play It Once more, Sam,” “Up the Sandbox,” “The Final of Sheila,” “Busting,” “The Domino Precept” and “Reuben, Reuben.”

However Goldenberg was finest often known as a tv composer, incomes further Emmy nominations for TV-movies “The Marcus-Nelson Murders,” “The Migrants,” “Helter Skelter,” the remake of “Darkish Victory,” “The Gangster Chronicles,” “Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy,” “Naked Essence,” and “Nutcracker: Cash, Insanity and Homicide.” He additionally scored “The Atlanta Youngster Murders,” “Kane and Abel,” “Fortunate / Probabilities” and “Miss Rose White.”

His TV collection themes additionally included “The Sixth Sense,” “Govt Suite,” “Delvecchio,” “The Lazarus Syndrome,” “Skag,” “Love, Sidney,” and “Our Home.” His acclaimed documentary scores included the Nationwide Geographic particular “The Unbelievable Machine” in 1975.

“A composer must be delicate to what’s occurring on the display screen,” Goldenberg advised the L.A. Instances. “It’s higher to underplay and understate, despite the fact that it typically turns into a private battle for me as a result of I’m very emotional, at all times able to pour my coronary heart out.”

He give up tv within the late 1990s and returned to New York, though he went on the street with Bea Arthur, enjoying piano for her one-woman present “…And Then There’s Bea” within the early 2000s. He’s the topic of a documentary at the moment nearing completion by creator Gary Gerani (“Unbelievable Tv”).

The one identified survivors are cousins. A memorial service is predicted to be held in California at a later date.


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