Mort Lindsey

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Mort Lindsey, (born Morton Lippman; March 21, 1923, Newark, New Jersey – May 4, 2012, Malibu, California), was an orchestrator, composer, pianist, conductor and musical director for Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Pat Boone, Jack Narz, and Merv Griffin.[1]

He attended Newark Arts High School.[2] He served stateside as a lieutenant in the Army Air Forces during World War II, received a bachelor's degree from Columbia College and a master's from Columbia University in the 1940s. He later returned to Columbia University, earning a doctoral degree in music education in 1974.

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, Mort Lindsey was part of a trio called the Playboys with jazz guitarist Johnny Smith and organist Arlo Hults at NBC.[3]

In 1956 he is credited with composing the song Rock 'N' Roll Polka as recorded by John Serry Sr. (See Squeeze Play (album)).

Lindsey was a composer of motion picture scores including Gay Purr-ee (1962), 40 Pounds of Trouble (1962), I Could Go On Singing (1963), Stolen Hours (1963), The Best Man (1964), Real Life (1979) and Cats Don't Dance (1997) for which he composed the song "Tell Me Lies". In addition, he and Griffin composed the song "Changing Keys", which served as the theme to Griffin's game show Wheel of Fortune in several versions from 1983 until 2002. He won an Emmy Award for Barbra Streisand in Central Park. In 1954, he married singer Judy Johnson,[4] who went by the alias Betty Bonney while touring with the Les Brown Orchestra. Their daughter Bonney Dunn was named for her alias. Lindsey served as musical director and bandleader of The Merv Griffin Show from 1962 to 1986 and composed the show's theme.[5]


  1. ^ "BBC News - Composer Mort Lindsey dies at the age of 89". Retrieved 2012-05-09. 
  2. ^ A Brief History Archived 2009-05-09 at the Wayback Machine., Newark Arts High School; accessed August 10, 2008.
  3. ^ Flanagan, Lin (2015). Moonlight in Vermont: The Official Biography of Johnny Smith. Anaheim Hills: Centerstream. p. 26. ISBN 978-1-57424-322-2. 
  4. ^
  5. ^

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