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(1966–1971)

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Emmy-winning composer Earle Hagen dies

Emmy-winning composer Earle Hagen dies
Earle Hagen, Emmy-winning composer of some of the most memorable musical themes in TV history and the man heard whistling the theme song of The Andy Griffith Show, died Monday of natural causes at his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He was 88.

In addition to writing the folksy Andy Griffith tune, Hagen penned the themes for The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Danny Thomas Show, I Spy, That Girl, The Mod Squad and Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer, many for famed TV director Sheldon Leonard.

Hagen composed original music for more than 3,000 episodes during his TV career, which spanned more than three decades.

The composer also was active in the film business, mostly as an arranger and orchestrator for 20th Century Fox. He received a 1960 Oscar nomination (shared with Lionel Newman) as musical director for the Marilyn Monroe film Let's Make Love.

Hagen, who played trombone with the Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey orchestras, composed the jazz standard Harlem Nocturne. Written in 1939 for big-band leader Ray Noble, the tune went on to be recorded by Les Brown, Glenn Miller, Stan Kenton, Woody Herman, Ray Anthony and many other bands.

Thomas wields gavel on 'SVU'

Thomas wields gavel on 'SVU'
Marlo Thomas has signed on to do a five-episode arc on NBC's Law & Order: SVU. Thomas will portray a judge who is known for speaking her mind and serves as a mentor to the show's assistant district attorney, played by Diane Neal. The first of Thomas' five episodes is scheduled to air next week in the drama series' regular Tuesday 10 p.m. slot. "We're huge fans of her work", said Law & Order: SVU executive producer Neal Baer, who called the character "a dynamic and savvy judge." In addition to the NBC drama series, Thomas will be seen in the upcoming Lifetime telefilm Deceit, written and directed by John Sacret Young, about a grieving widow who becomes a suspect in the disappearance of her wealthy husband. Deceit is set to bow March 15. Thomas, known for her 1960s sitcom That Girl, recently hosted the Lifetime special Our Heroes, Ourselves and the telefilm Two Against Time.

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