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Big band leader Del Courtney dead at 95

Feb. 19, 2006 at 1:45 PM   |   Comments

HONOLULU, Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Big band leader Del Courtney, who performed at four U.S. presidential inaugural balls during his 70-year career, has died in Hawaii at age 95.

Courtney was in a Honolulu hospital suffering from pneumonia when he died Feb. 11, Daily Variety reported.

Courtney performed for the inauguration celebrations for Presidents Harry Truman, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, Variety said.

Through seven decades he performed on radio, TV and film and backed Bing Crosby, Phil Harris, Martha Raye, The Ink Spots and Carmen Miranda, among others.

He spent 15 years performing at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki and also held court in the former Alexander Young Hotel in downtown Honolulu for the 1930s radio show "Hawaii Calls."

He formed the first Oakland Raiders band in the 1960s and appeared with the football team at Super Bowl games, Variety said.

He was married and divorced three times, to singers Connie Haines, Yvonne King and Nalani Courtney.

© 2006 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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