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Robert Arthur

  • Birthplace: Queens, Flushing, New York
  • Birthday: May 10
Date of passing: 
January 21, 2018

Obituary

Obituary: 

Robert Arthur was an American songwriter and composer.

Arthur worked with newspaper columnist-turned-TV host Ed Sullivan from 1952, when he was hired to assist the Toast of the Town music director, until The Ed Sullivan Show (as it was renamed in 1955) ended its 23-year run on June 6, 1971.

Robert Arthur was an American songwriter and composer.

Arthur worked with newspaper columnist-turned-TV host Ed Sullivan from 1952, when he was hired to assist the Toast of the Town music director, until The Ed Sullivan Show (as it was renamed in 1955) ended its 23-year run on June 6, 1971.

Arthur handled all the music for Sullivan, arranging and composing songs for and working with such guests as The Beatles, Judy Garland, Sly Stone, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Ella Fitzgerald, Elvis Presley, Kate Smith, Count Basie, Perry Como, Bill Haley & His Comets, Harry James, Diana Ross, Itzhak Perlman, Edith Piaf, The Platters, The Vienna Boys' Choir, Connie Francis, Bo Diddley, among many others.

Arthur learned to play the piano as a youngster, and at Colgate University, he majored in economics and Spanish and wrote two musicals.

After graduation in 1949, he became an accompanist, conductor and arranger, then served as a bayonet instructor during the Korean War. Back in New York, Arthur was hired by famed arranger and orchestra conductor Ray Bloch to work on the CBS shows hosted by Sullivan and Jackie Gleason.

After the end of the Sullivan program, Arthur moved to Los Angeles, where he helped Dick Clark launch the American Music Awards. He would go on to produce dozens of music awards shows over the next four decades, working with artists like Michael Jackson and Natalie Cole.

Arthur died January 21, 2018, in Los Angeles, California. He was 89.

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