Allyn Ferguson, TV Composer, Dies at 85
Allyn Ferguson, an Emmy Award-winning composer for television and a co-writer of the themes for the hit shows “Charlie’s Angels” and “Barney Miller,” died on June 23 at his home in Westlake Village, Calif. He was 85.
Mr. Ferguson also wrote orchestral scores for television adaptations of literary classics. But his best-remembered compositions were those he wrote in the 1970s with Jack Elliott — one for “Charlie’s Angels,” a catchy introduction to the exploits of three sexy female private eyes, and the other the jazzy opening for “Barney Miller,” the comedy series set in a Greenwich Village police station.
“Both are iconic in the sense that most people who were around in that era can easily recall those tunes,” said Jon Burlingame, a film and television music historian at the University of Southern California and the author of “TV’s Biggest Hits,” a 1996 book about television themes.
Mr. Ferguson and Mr. Elliot (who died in 2001) also wrote hundreds of underscores — setting the mood or propelling action — for episodes of series like “The Rookies,” “S.W.A.T.,” “Starsky & Hutch,” “Police Story,” “Banacek” and “Fish.”
“But if you look at Ferguson’s filmography, the majority of his career was really devoted to made-for-television movies,” Mr. Burlingame said. “He would write exciting, fully orchestral scores, often with classically swashbuckling sounds.”
Working alone, Mr. Ferguson wrote scores for more than 60 television movies, including a series of adaptations of classic literature produced by Norman Rosemont, among them “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “The Man in the Iron Mask, “Les Misérables” and “Camille,” for which Mr. Ferguson won an Emmy in 1985.
Allyn Malcolm Ferguson Jr. was born on Oct. 18, 1924, in San Jose, Calif., one of two children of Allyn Sr. and Florence Therien Ferguson. He took trumpet lessons when he was 4 and began studying piano when he was 7. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in music from San Jose State University and studied music with Nadia Boulanger in Paris and with Aaron Copland at Tanglewood in Massachusetts.
Besides his daughter, Mr. Ferguson is survived by his wife, the former Joline Clary; his sons, Dan and Todd; his sister, Marilyn Dallman; and six grandchildren.SOURCE