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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 08:28 GMT 09:28 UK
Disney stalwart dies
Mickey Mouse
Baker wrote songs for the Mickey Mouse Club
Buddy Baker, musical director for nearly 200 Disney movies and TV shows including The Mickey Mouse Club, has died at the age of 84.

Baker is believed to have died from natural causes at his home in California's Sherman Oaks on Friday, studio spokesman Howard Green said.


Anyone who has ever been to a Disney theme park has enjoyed his music and his scores

Roy Disney
Disney vice-chairman
Baker was behind the incidental music for The Mickey Mouse Club as well as songs sung by its child stars and was responsible for music in the 1981 cartoon movie The Fox and the Hound.

His greatest moment came when he was nominated for an Oscar for the 1972 children's drama Napoleon and Samantha.

Visitors to Disney theme parks will also have heard many works written or arranged by Baker.

The composer wrote the incidental music on the attractions Great Moments With Mr Lincoln, It's a Small World, and The Haunted Mansion.

Baker often took others' melodies such as the Mickey Mouse Club March or the It's a Small World song and adapted them for use elsewhere in a show or ride.

Early aptitude

"Anyone who has ever been to a Disney theme park has enjoyed his music and his scores," said Roy Disney, vice-chairman of the Walt Disney company.

"I had the privilege of working with Buddy on scores for several projects that I produced and he always came through with something original and appropriate."

Brought up in Springfield, Illinois, Baker found an aptitude for music early in childhood.

Bob Hope
Baker composed for shows featuring Bob Hope
He took up the piano aged just four and was playing trumpet when he was 11 years old.

After studying music at Missouri's Southwest Baptist University, Baker moved to Los Angeles in 1938 to work in Hollywood.

The budding composer wrote arrangements for radio programmes featuring Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Eddie Cantor.

In 1954, he was hired by Disney Studios, where he worked on arrangements for the TV show Davy Crockett and three Winnie the Pooh cartoons.

He also composed music for the scores of movies including 1960's Toby Tyler, 1975's The Apple Dumpling Gang and 1976's The Shaggy DA.

See also:

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