Earle Hagen, Emmy-winning TV theme composer, author and educator, died Monday of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 88.
Hagen, who not only composed the theme from the Andy Griffith Show but also did the whistling for the melody, had a 33 year career in the industry composing original music for more than 3000 tv shows, among them The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Danny Thomas Show, That Girl, The Mod Squad, Mickey Spillane’s Mike Hammer, Eight Is Enough, The Dukes of Hazzard, and I Spy, for which he won an Emmy. In 1960 he took an Oscar for Let’s Make Love starring Marilyn Monroe.
Hagen played trombone with both the Tommy Dorsey and Benny Goodman orchestras and composed the jazz classic Harlem Nocturne. Nocturne, written in 1939 for big-band leader Ray Noble, would go on to be recorded by Les Brown, Glenn Miller, Woody Herman, and numerous other bands since.
He is survived by his second wife Laura and two sons, Deane and James.