Jeff Alexander

Jeff Alexander (July 2, 1910 – December 23, 1989), also known as Myer Alexander, was an American conductor, arranger, and composer of film, radio and television scores.

Jeff Alexander
Birth nameMyer Goodhue Alexander
Also known asMyer Alexander
Born(1910-07-02)July 2, 1910
Seattle, Washington, U.S.
OriginSeattle, Washington
DiedDecember 23, 1989(1989-12-23) (aged 79)
Whidbey Island, Washington
Occupation(s)Conductor, arranger, composer
InstrumentsPiano

Early years

Born Myer Goodhue Alexander in Seattle, Washington, Alexander began performing in his teens as a singer and dancer in vaudeville productions.[1] He then began playing piano and composing big band music.

Radio

In 1939, he moved to New York City, where he arranged and composed music for radio programs, including Benny Goodman's Camel Caravan (as "Myer Alexander"), "The Lucky Strike Show" and "Amos 'n' Andy". He directed the orchestra for Songs of George Byron,[2] Arthur's Place,[3] Thirty Minutes to Play,[4] The Bill Goodwin Show,[5] and the Borden Show.[6]

He directed the chorus for The Star Theater,[7] Great Moments in Music[8] and (billed as Myer Alexander) the Goodman program.[9] His Goodman group was called "the world's only Swing Chorus".[10]

Career

Film

In 1947, he moved to Los Angeles and began writing film and, later, television scores. His first film project was the score for Shall We Dance,[1] and he scored many of Elvis Presley's films, including Jailhouse Rock (1957), Kid Galahad (1962), Double Trouble (1967), Clambake (1967) and Speedway (1968). He also composed the scores to over 30 films, including The Tender Trap (1955), Ransom! (1956), The Wings of Eagles (1957), The Sheepman (1958), Party Girl (1958), Ask Any Girl (1959), The Mating Game (1959), The Gazebo (1959), All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960), The George Raft Story (1961), The Rounders (1965), Day of the Evil Gun (1968), Support Your Local Sheriff! (1969) and Dirty Dingus Magee (1970).

Television

Alexander's many television credits include being musical director for Please Don't Eat the Daisies and music for Family Affair, My Three Sons, The Mothers-In-Law, Julia, and Columbo. He wrote the song "Come Wander With Me" for an episode of The Twilight Zone in 1964; it was later used in the 2003 film The Brown Bunny.[11]

Compositions

Although credited to Axel Stordahl, it was Alexander who arranged "The House I Live In" for Frank Sinatra, recorded in 1945. In 1956, Alexander contributed the tone poems "Yellow" and "Brown" to the album Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color. He also composed a symphony and other classical pieces.

Other

In 1944, Alexander and Lyn Murray, along with business manager Eugene Loewenthal, formed Murray-Alexander Associates in New York City. The business provided vocal groups, orchestras, and arrangements.[12]

Death

Alexander died of cancer, aged 79, at his home[13] in Whidbey Island, Washington on December 23, 1989.[14] He was survived by his daughter, Jill.[13]

References

  1. "Jeff Alexander". The Index-Journal. January 17, 1990. p. 8. Retrieved July 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  2. ""Songs of George Byron" Heard Tuesday and Thursday Over WHP". Harrisburg Telegraph. May 18, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved July 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  3. "'Arthur's Place' Scene of Special Holiday Festival'". Harrisburg Telegraph. June 28, 1947. p. 19. Retrieved July 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  4. Lee, Edwin (August 29, 1942). "Program Review: Thirty Minutes to Play". Billboard. p. 8. Retrieved July 26, 2015.
  5. "On the Beam". The Mason City Globe-Gazette. July 5, 1947. p. 1. Retrieved July 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  6. "(photo caption)". The Mason City Globe-Gazette. July 6, 1945. p. 2. Retrieved July 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  7. "(The Star Theater advertisement)". The Pantagraph. March 24, 1948. p. 2. Retrieved July 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  8. "Creator". Harrisburg Telegraph. May 19, 1945. p. 16. Retrieved July 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  9. "(radio listing)". Freeport Journal-Standard. August 3, 1937. p. 5. Retrieved July 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  10. "King of Swing". Hope Star. July 3, 1937. p. 5. Retrieved July 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  11. Garraty, John Arthur; Carnes, Mark C. (1999). American National Biography. Oxford University Press. pp. 273–274. ISBN 0-19-512787-0.
  12. "Studio Notes" (PDF). Broadcasting. September 25, 1944. p. 54. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  13. "Jeff Alexander" (PDF). Broadcasting. January 22, 1990. p. 78. Retrieved 26 July 2015.
  14. "Jeff Alexander, 79; Composer for Screen". The New York Times. January 17, 1990. Retrieved November 6, 2008.
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