Rod McKuen

Rod McKuen

Birth
Oakland, Alameda County, California, USA
Death 29 Jan 2015 (aged 81)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Corridor of Memories
Memorial ID 141967886 · View Source
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Poet, Composer, Songwriter and Singer. McKuen was a prolific force in popular culture, turning out hundreds of songs and poems and recordings in the 1960s and '70s which made him one of the best-selling poets in history. He spent his teens ranching and roping horses in a rodeo and wrote poetry in his free time. After serving as a propaganda writer in the Korean War, he wound up in San Francisco, where his friend Phyllis Diller helped him find work in the growing nightclub scene. He went on to sing with the Lionel Hampton band, acted in a handful of movies and TV shows, read poetry on the same bill as Jack Kerouac and other Beat writers and had a minor hit single in the early 1960s with the dance parody "Oliver Twist". While living in France, he met Belgian composer Jacques Brel and began a friendship that set him on his way to stardom. His English-language adaptations of Brel's songs included the hit "Seasons In the Sun" and the pop standard "If You Go Away". McKuen was nominated for an Oscar for "Jean" for the film 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' and for "A Boy Named Charlie Brown", the title track for the 'Peanuts' movie. He is credited with more than 200 albums - dozens of which went gold or platinum - and more than 30 collections of poetry. Worldwide sales for his music top 100 million units while his book sales exceed 60 million copies. Among artists who recorded his songs were Dolly Parton, Barbra Streisand, Perry Como, Petula Clark, Waylon Jennings, The Boston Pops, Chet Baker, Johnny Cash, Andy Williams, the Kingston Trio, Percy Faith, Dusty Springfield, Johnny Mathis, Al Hirt, Greta Keller and Madonna. His "Lonesome Cities" album won a Grammy for best spoken word recording and Frank Sinatra commissioned him to write material for "A Man Alone: The Words and Music of Rod McKuen". Over the second half of his life, many of his books fell out of print however, he continued to publish poetry, remastered old musical recordings and gave occasional concerts. He did at times take on social and political issues. He opposed the Vietnam War, wrote a poem about the Watergate scandal and supported civil rights and equal rights for gays. He provided voiceovers for the Disney movie and TV series 'The Little Mermaid' and appeared at Carnegie Hall in 1995 for an 80th birthday tribute to Sinatra. McKuen died at a rehabilitation center where he had been treated for pneumonia and had been ill for several weeks.

Bio by: Louis du Mort


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Louis du Mort
  • Added: 29 Jan 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 141967886
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Rod McKuen (29 Apr 1933–29 Jan 2015), Find a Grave Memorial no. 141967886, citing Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .