Page last updated at 10:12 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 11:12 UK

Batman theme composer Hefti dies

Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin
The original Batman TV series ran from 1966 to 1968

Neal Hefti, composer of the theme from the Batman TV series, has died in Los Angeles at the age of 85.

The iconic music, which Hefti described as the "hardest piece I ever wrote", was a Top 40 hit and won a Grammy Award in 1966 for best instrumental theme.

He also composed music for Barefoot in the Park, The Odd Couple and Harlow, which featured his track Girl Talk.

The trumpeter worked with many of the greats of the Big Band era, including Count Basie and Woody Herman.

He also worked with Frank Sinatra on two albums, Sinatra and Swingin' Brass plus Sinatra-Basie: An Historic Musical First.

'Fun groove'

Born in 1922 in Hastings, Nebraska, Hefti played trumpet with local bands as a teenager before moving to New York to pursue a career in music.

He met his wife, singer Frances Wayne, when they were both with the Woody Herman orchestra in the 1940s.

According to his son Paul, Hefti - who died at his home on Saturday - "threw away more music paper on [the Batman theme] than any other song".

"It got down to the blues with a funny guitar hook, the lowest common denominator and a fun groove," he told the Associated Press.

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