TV theme composer Hagen dead at 88

May 27, 2008 at 10:23 PM

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif., May 27 (UPI) -- Earle H. Hagen, an Emmy Award-winning composer of music for TV shows, has died at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at the age of 88, his wife Laura said.

The Chicago native penned music for "The Andy Griffith Show," "The Dick Van Dyke Show," "I Spy," "That Girl," "Make Room for Daddy," "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C.," "The Mod Squad" and "Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer," the Los Angeles Times reported.

In addition, he composed the jazz standard "Harlem Nocturne" and was a former big-band trombonist for Tommy Dorsey, Benny Goodman and Ray Noble.

The Times said Hagen died Monday night after being ill for several months.

"There is no question in my mind that Earle Hagen is one of the most important composers in the history of television, if not the most important," said Jon Burlingame, author of the book "TV's Biggest Hits." "There was very little original music being composed for television. He was one of the very few people who took the leap and saw the potential of music for television in terms of what could be accomplished dramatically and comedically."

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