Disney Composer Buddy Baker Dies At Age 84
Buddy Baker, a 29-year Disney veteran who composed the musical scores for nearly 200 Disney feature films, television shows and theme park attractions, passed away from natural causes on Friday, July 26, 2002, at his home in Sherman Oaks, California. He was 84 years old. Baker first came to the Disney Studio in 1954 and went on to compose music for such popular television shows as DAVY CROCKETT and THE MICKEY MOUSE CLUB. His theatrical credits include the featurette DONALD IN MATHMAGIC LAND, plus memorable scores for the three original WINNIE THE POOH offerings. Baker was also the man behind the music of such landmark Disneyland attractions as "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln," "It's a Small World" and "The Haunted Mansion." As musical director for Walt Disney World's Epcot, he oversaw the development of all the music heard at the park. Among his other achievements, he received the ASCAP Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and an Oscar nomination in 1973, for his score for NAPOLEON AND SAMANTHA. Baker retired from Disney in 1983. Two years later, he began teaching a class in scoring for animation at the University of Southern California. In 1988, he became director of the Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television Program at USC, which he headed until his death. Baker is survived by his wife of 26 years, Charlotte; a daughter from a previous marriage, Catherine CiCi Baker of Lake Tahoe, Nevada; his sister, Noreene Doss of Springfield, Ill; a stepson, Scott Keene; two grandchildren and a great grandchild. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in his name to USC's Flora Thornton School of Music, Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television Program.