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Posted at 11:20 AM ET, 02/18/2011

John Strauss, TV and film composer

By Matt Schudel
Matt Schudel

John Strauss, an Emmy and Grammy award-winning composer and music editor, has died of Parkinson's disease at 90. He's probably best known as the composer of the bouncy theme song of "Car 54, Where Are You?," a police comedy series from 1961-63. He also wrote the theme for "The Phil Silvers Show."

Strauss was the music editor for many films, including Woody Allen's "Take the Money and Run" and "Bananas," "The Blues Brothers" and "Ragtime." He won an Emmy Award for sound editing on "The Amazing Howard Hughes" (1977).

Strauss studied with the noted composer Paul Hindemith but also collaborated, in a way, with an even more celebrated composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. In 1984, Strauss won a Grammy Award for producing an album of music from the Milos Forman-directed film about Mozart's life. Strauss was the film's sound editor, composed a piece of jejune music that a count in the movie showed to Mozart in the movie and even appeared onscreen in one scene as a conductor.

Here's a key scene in the movie, in which Mozart's rival Antonio Salieri (played by F. Murray Abraham) realizes that Mozart's music -- snippets of which Strauss wove through the scene -- is descended directly from the gods.

By Matt Schudel  | February 18, 2011; 11:20 AM ET
Categories:  Matt Schudel  
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