Buddy Bregman, Famed Arranger, Composer And Producer, Father Of Tracey Bregman, Dies At 86

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Buddy Bregman, a conductor, arranger and composer who worked with the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Ethel Merman and Bing Crosby and on films including The Pajama Game, has died. He was 86.Bregman died on Sunday evening in Los Angeles after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease, his family announced. Survivors include his daughter Tracey Bregman, who plays Lauren Fenmore on the CBS soap opera The Young and the Restless.  His uncle was the legendary Broadway songwriter Jule Styne.
For a long stretch starting in the mid-1950s, Bregman was one of the busiest music men in Hollywood, with his work covering records, television and the movies.  For The Pajama Game (1957), an adaptation of the Broadway smash hit, Bregman did the arrangements for all the famous Bob Fosse numbers in the Stanley Donen-George Abbott classic, including “Steam Heat,” “Once-a-Year-Day” and “Hernando’s Hideaway.”The Chicago native also scored and orchestrated other films including Five Guns West (1955), The Wild Party (1956), The Delicate Delinquent (1957) and Born Reckless (1958).

Bregman attended UCLA and did the orchestration and conducted for a few Lieber & Stoller songs, including “Bazoom I Need Your Lovin,” recorded by The Cheers. It made the charts in 1954, and that prompted him to leave school.

At age 25, Bregman was hired by the legendary jazz impresario Norman Granz as the A&R head of a new label called Verve. There, he worked as an arranger for such artists as Crosby, Rosemary Clooney and Fred Astaire.
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Bregman arranged two of the albums in Fitzgerald’s song-book project as well as several of her early Verve singles. He also produced the 1956 album Bing Sings Whilst Bregman Swings at Verve and did four albums with Sammy Davis Jr. (He also acted alongside Davis in the play The Desperate Hours.)

Bregman was the first American director hired for the BBC, where he produced and directed 1965’s An Evening With Ethel Merman and ran its specials department. In 1966, he was appointed head of light entertainment for the weekday ITV company Redifussion London.

Longtime friend Constance Towers Gavin, who is married to international businessman John Gavin, and who also stars as Helena Cassadine on the ABC soap opera “General Hospital” told Highlight Hollywood, “Buddy was one of the first music arrangers I met when I came to Hollywood and what a talented man.. He was handsome, sweet, charming and so gifted.

“Every young singer wanted Buddy Bregman to do their musical arrangements and to plan and direct their nightclub acts. He was wonderful.   It was fun to see him with Tracey.  He was so proud of her and just loved to show his beautiful daughter off.   He was truly one of the most gifted young musicians I’ve known.”

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his son Barry; his former wife, actress Suzanne Lloyd; his grandsons Austin, Landon, Bernie and Adam; his great-grandson Ace; and his brother Bobby and sister-in-law Ellisa.

 

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:   Bergman Family
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