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Ray Ellis

Ray Ellis (July 28, 1923 – October 27, 2008[1]) was an American record producer, arranger and conductor. The orchestration for Billie Holiday's Lady in Satin (1958) is probably his best known work in the jazz vein.


  • Biography 1
    • NBC News Today 1.1
    • His work with Filmation 1.2
    • Game-show music 1.3
    • His death 1.4
  • Selected discography 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


Ellis was born in Philadelphia.[1] He arranged many hit records in the 1950s and 1960s. Included are classics such as "A Certain Smile" by Johnny Mathis, "Broken Hearted Melody" by Sarah Vaughan, and "Standing on the Corner" by the Four Lads. In 1970, he produced Emmylou Harris' debut LP Gliding Bird.

Ellis' work encompassed all areas of music, from records to film, commercials, and television. In the early 1960s, Ellis had a contract to produce his own easy listening record albums with RCA Victor, MGM, and Columbia, the most popular probably being Ellis in Wonderland. His television credits include theme music for NBC News At Sunrise with Connie Chung and the background and incidental music for the original Spider-Man cartoons.

NBC News Today

Ellis also composed two extended themes for The Today Show, the first in 1971. It was used as the Friday closing theme (and eventually the show's full-time theme) until the end of the decade.[1] However, in Herald Square Music v. Living Music, the District Court of the Southern District of New York "found the instrumental arrangement and harmonization of defendant's melody to be substantially similar to that of 'Day by Day,'" a Stephen Schwartz song from the musical Godspell.[2] As a result, Ellis composed a second Today Show theme based on the trademark NBC chimes. That theme was the NBC show's signature from 1978 to 1985 and has appeared irregularly on the morning program ever since.[1]

His work with Filmation

Using the name of his wife Yvette Blais as a Flash Gordon cartoon.) On 1978's Fabulous Funnies, Ellis was credited as Mark Jeffrey (opposite Lou Scheimer under the pseudonym David Jeffrey, which he occasionally used in the 70s). Ray Ellis was directly credited, however, for The Archie Show and Sabrina the Teenage Witch background music.

Game-show music

Ellis, who resided in Los Angeles, also composed the music for the 1980s US edition of Sale of the Century theme, along with Hot Streak, Scrabble, Scattergories and Time Machine with his son Marc that includes the Jack Grimsley's score from 1980 and the famed Reg Grundy Productions fanfare at the end of each broadcast.

His death

Ellis died of complications from melanoma on October 27, 2008 at an assisted-living facility in Encino, California. He was survived by sons Marc and Jeffrey. [1][4]

Selected discography


  1. ^ a b c d e   Barnes, Mike (October 31, 2008). "Composer Ray Ellis dies at 85". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-09-24. 
  2. ^ Herald Square Music v. Living Music, 205 U.S.P.Q. 1241, No. 77 Civ. 0008 (S.D.N.Y. Dec. 4, 1978).
  3. ^ Mangels, Andy; booklets for Space Sentinels/The Freedom Force, Hero High, The Ghost Busters, Ark II, Space Academy, Jason of Star Command, and The Secrets of Isis.
  4. ^ Thurber, Jon (2008-11-05). "Ray Ellis Dies At 85".  

External links

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