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 George Cates

George Cates

Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 12 May 2002 (aged 90)
Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Tanach Columbarium, Niche 700
Memorial ID 63339175 · View Source
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George Cates was an American music arranger, conductor, songwriter and record executive known for his work with Lawrence Welk and his orchestra.
Born and raised in New York, Cates began his music career shortly after his graduating from New York University, where he found work with the vaudeville team of Olsen and Johnson on their legendary revue, Hellzapoppin. His early career included arranging and playing saxophone with such bands as Henry Busse, Dick Stabile, and Russ Morgan between 1945 and 1951. In the mid-1950s, he was A&R director for Coral Records, writing and conducting for the label's stars that included the Andrews Sisters, Teresa Brewer, Bing Crosby, and Danny Kaye. During this time, he hit the Top 40 charts with his release of a medley of "Moonglow" and "Theme from Picnic". This record had some wordless vocal effects by Norma Zimmer who, coincidentally, would later become Welk's Champagne Lady.
Starting in 1951, he served as Lawrence Welk's musical director. In that role, he conducted the orchestra in the rehearsals and spent many years behind the scenes as an arranger. After leaving the ABC television network in 1971, Welk syndicated his show and continued on TV using the theme song "Champagne Time", which Cates had composed. A prolific writer, Cates's songs were sung by many of show's "Musical Family". In 1973, the Maestro asked him to conduct the orchestra on camera, a role he carried until the show ended in 1982. Notably, he presented occasional classical music selections in addition to the band's lighter fare. In addition to his work with Welk, Cates wrote and arranged a number of albums with other leading band leaders of the era.
He died May 12, 2002 at his home in Santa Monica, California aged 90.


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  • Created by: Papawraith
  • Added: 26 Dec 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 63339175
  • Sue
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for George Cates (19 Oct 1911–12 May 2002), Find A Grave Memorial no. 63339175, citing Mount Sinai Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Papawraith (contributor 46491198) .