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Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 13:28 GMT 14:28 UK
Lassie composer dies
Lassie and actor Roddy McDowell from the film Lassie Come Home
Lassie became a star on film and television
Composer Raoul Kraushaar, who wrote the music for the TV show Lassie, has died at the age of 93.

The French-born composer had a 55-year career in writing television and film scores, including the soundtracks for TV shows The Untouchables and The Fugitive.

Kraushaar died in Pompano Beach, Florida on Saturday, his family said in a statement.

He was born in 1908, the son of an orchestral musician, and lived with his aunt after the death of his mother.

As a teenager, he stowed away on a ship bound for New York.

Classic themes

After attending Columbia University, where he studied musical arranging, he moved to Los Angeles in the 1930s, to launch his career.

He became famed for penning the theme tune to many classic television shows, including, Lassie, the children's series starring a loveable collie dog was the most famous.

Elizabeth Taylor
Elizabeth Taylor: Starred in Courage of Lassie movie

This year the show, first screened from 1954-1974, ranked number 64 in a Channel 4 poll of favourite children's shows of all time.

The film versions of Lassie starred a young Elizabeth Taylor and launched the career of the late Roddy McDowell.


Other shows included Mr Ed and The Abbott and Costello Show as well as the signature tunes to the cartoons Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound.

"He was a pioneer. His work has been a tremendous influence in my life and I know it has touched the lives of many others," his youngest daughter Kelley Kay said.

The first film Kraushaar was given a credit for was Round-up Time In Texas with Gene Autry in 1937.

The composer also worked as an arranger for band leaders.

He composed as both a freelancer as well as a staffer for Republic Studios and MGM.

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