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Walter Earl Brown

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BROWN, Walter Earl (1928-2008) Walter Earl Brown, known to his friends as Earl, passed away peacefully in his sleep at his home in Sherman Oaks, California on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2008 after a lengthy illness. Earl had celebrated his 79th birthday on Dec. 25, 2007 with friends. He will be sadly missed by his many friends and relatives across the country. Earl was born in Salt Lake City, UT on Christmas Day, 1928, to Walter L. and Hattie Earl Brown. Earl's father, Walter played in a "swing" big band so as a child Earl traveled with his parents, living in several cities. Eventually moving to Logan to be close to his mother's family, Earl attended Woodruff Elementary school. During his years in Logan, Earl made lifelong friendships with Ralph Dunn, his cousin Gerry Earl, as well as many others. Earl had a prolific and illustrious career in show business as a singer, composer, vocal arranger, and writer of special material. His work in television, films, revues, musical recordings and nightclubs began at an early age and continued until his passing. During the 40's and 50's Earl is remembered for having been the arranger and singer in the highly acclaimed vocal group "The Skylarks". He wrote a hit song for Elvis Presley in 1968 entitled "If I Can Dream", which has been re-recorded by Barry Manilow and others and which was recently performed on "American Idol" by Celine Dion as a duet, with Elvis resurrected on stage as a holographic image. Earl wrote songs for Dianne Reeves, including the Grammy winning "Who's Minding The Store?", as well as for Frank Sinatra, Mama Cass, Michael Feinstein, and numerous others. For many years he was the vocal director on many hit variety shows including "The Danny Kaye Show", "The Dinah Shore Show", "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour", "The Osmonds Brothers Show", "The Andy Williams Show", "The Carol Burnett Show" and many other television programs and specials. Most recently Earl was the vocal arranger and writer of special material for "The Palm Springs Follies" for the last 13 seasons of the revue. Earl is survived by cousin Don (Gloria) Earl, Smithfield, UT; cousins-in-law, M. Kae (Ellen Rae) Jeppesen, North Logan, UT; JoAn Earl, Fort Worth, TX, and their families; his "best friend" Ralph (Jackie) Dunn, Logan, UT. He was preceded in death by his parents, aunts, uncles, cousin, Carol Jenkins Jeppesen, and his "favorite" cousin and buddy, Gerald E. Earl. A viewing will be held at Forest Lawn Mortuary (6300 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles, California 90068) on Friday, Jan. 18th from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. The memorial service will be held at the North Hollywood Church of Religious Science (6161 Whitsett Ave, North Hollywood, CA 91606, 818-762-7566) on Saturday, Jan. 19th at 2:30 p.m.
Published in the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 15, 2008
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