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Inspiring composer von Schmidt dead at 75

Feb. 4, 2007 at 5:12 PM

BRIDGEPORT, Conn., Feb. 4 (UPI) -- Folk music composer Eric von Schmidt, whose works inspired such singers as Bob Dylan and Joan Baez, has died in Connecticut at the age of 75.

The New York Times said the famed performer, whose abilities influenced Dylan and Baez during their time in Cambridge, Mass., died Friday in the town of Fairfield from undetermined causes.

His daughter, Caitlin, said her father had suffered a stroke last year.

While in Cambridge back in 1957, von Schmidt spent much of his time sharing his knowledge and skills with those interested in folk music.

"I sang him a bunch of songs, and, with that spongelike mind of his, he remembered almost all of them when he got back to New York," von Schmidt had said of the times he spent with Dylan in Cambridge.

To honor the man who influenced him so greatly, Dylan featured a picture of a von Schmidt album on the cover of his 1965 offering, "Bringing It All Back Home."

The Times said in addition to Caitlin, von Schmidt is survived by a second daughter, Megan Richardson, and three grandsons.

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