Educator, Composer Buddy Baker Dies

By • July 31, 2002

LOS ANGELES (Film Music Magazine) — Buddy Baker, Chair of the Film Scoring Program at USC and musical director for hundreds of Disney movies, TV shows, and theme-park rides, died July 26 in Sherman Oaks, CA at the age of 83, the studio announced Monday.

Buddy Baker’s extensive career in the commercial field of music spanned from the Big Band era through several years of network radio and television to motion picture and television composing. He arrived in Los Angeles in 1938, and shortly thereafter became the musical arranger on The Bob Hope Show. After the beginning of World War II, he became the musical director of Hope’s show.

In 1954, he moved to Walt Disney Productions where he would remain for 28 years. He was the musical director for The Mickey Mouse Club, which ran for 4 years and required new material to be composed and performed on a daily basis. During his time with Disney he scored more than 50 feature films and 140 television features. He was composer/musical director for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, EPCOT Center and Tokyo Disneyland.

He has conducted his music with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of London and the Graunke Symphony Orchestra of Munich, Germany. His awards include an Academy Award nomination for Napoleon and Samantha and the Southern California Motion Picture Council Award for Napoleon and Samantha, Best of True-Life Adventures, Bears and I and The Million Dollar Duck, and the National Film Advisory Board award for Best of True-Life Adventures.

In 1998, Dr. Baker was designated a “Disney Legend,” and in 1999, he was presented ASCAP’s prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding accomplishments as a composer, arranger, conductor and mentor in the field of film and television music.

In recent years, he headed the Film Scoring Program at the University of Southern California (USC).

(biographical material on Buddy Baker from USC website)

Comments

By Pat Wacha on July 2nd, 2009 at 5:25 pm

What a treasure the world had in Norman “Buddy” Baker!

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