Songwriter and instrumentalist Johnny Rotella has died, aged 93. The musician's son, John Rotella, confirmed his father passed away peacefully in his sleep in Van Nuys, California on 11 September (14), just days before his 94th birthday.
A statement from Kathy Spanberger, head of music publishing company Peermusic, reads, "He was not only a gifted songwriter but also a renowned musician and raconteur. I will miss the lunches... I had with Johnny because we got to sit back and listen to the wonderful stories of the days he worked with the greats in our business, including Sinatra, Goodman and Glenn Miller."
While growing up in New Jersey, Rotella played clarinet and saxophone in an array of bands throughout his teens, and after military service in World War Two, he relocated to California, began work as a studio woodwind player and became established on the music scene.
Rotella wrote the anthem Nothing But the Best for Frank Sinatra and recorded with Neil Diamond, Frank Zappa and Steely Dan.
He was a sought after session musician, a band regular on The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour variety show in the 1970s, and he wrote more than 200 songs, performed by the likes of Tony Bennett, Dean Martin and Doris Day.
John David Wilson, a celebrated animator who worked on several classic Disney movies, has passed away at the age of 93. The Brit died in a nursing home in Lancashire, England on 20 June (13) after a battle with dementia.
After losing his leg in a bomb attack during his time with the London Rifle Brigade in the 1940s North African Campaign, he returned to London and landed a job at Pinewood Studios, where he studied animation under David Hand, the director of Disney's 1937 landmark cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.
He relocated to the U.S. to work at Disney in 1950, and worked on the studio's animations of Peter Pan, Lady & the Tramp and Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, which went on to win an Oscar.
He also enjoyed a stint at Hanna-Barbera Productions, where he contributed to The Flintstones, and went on to work on a variety of film and TV projects, including the animated opening of Grease and promos for The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour.
He also set up the Fine Arts Films company, was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and a founder of ASIFA Hollywood.
He returned to England in 1995 after working on his final project, an animated TV series of Madeline in 1994.
He is survived by his wife Fabian and his six children.
Emmy Award-nominated writer/producer George Burditt has died. Burditt passed away in Burbank, California on Tuesday (25Jun13), according to editors at Deadline.com. No further details about his death were available as WENN went to press.
Burditt penned several episodes of the hit U.S. sitcom Three's Company and served as its executive producer from 1981 until it ended in 1984.
He also wrote scenes for shows including All In The Family, The Jeffersons, The Ropers, and Three's A Crowd - the TV sequel to Three's Company.
Burditt was nominated for four Emmy Awards during the 1970s, two each for variety shows The Sonny And Cher Comedy Hour and Van Dyke And Company.