Grammy-winning and Oscar-nominated TV and film composer Perry Botkin Jr, best known for his themes for The Young and the Restless and the late ’70s sitcom Mork & Mindy has died at 87.
Botkin, whose career spanned four decades, was also an arranger on Glen Campbell’s Wichita Lineman and The Cascades’ hit Rhythm of the Rain.
He also worked on albums by artists such as Barbra Streisand, Peggy Lee, Bobby Darin, Sammy Davis Jr, Jack Jones, Paul Williams and more.
Most recently, his music was featured on the soundtrack of the 2017 blockbuster Baby Driver.
In 1971, Botkin and his composing partner Barry De Vorzon wrote the score for the Stanley Kramer film Bless the Beasts and the Children, earning them a best-song Oscar nomination for the title tune, which was sung by The Carpenters.
In 1973, the CBS soap The Young and the Restless adopted a cue (Cotton’s Dream) from that score as its theme. It later became known as Nadia’s Theme after ABC TV in the US used the song in a montage featuring Romanian Olympic medallist Nadia Comaneci, subsequently winning Botkin and De Vorzon a 1977 Grammy for best instrumental arrangement.
In 2001, the theme was back on the charts as a result of Mary J. Blige’s sampling for No More Drama.
An album he arranged and conducted, Bongo Rock by the Incredible Bongo Band, is credited with the birth of hip-hop in a documentary film, Sample This.
The album also included two of his original songs, one of which was featured in Baby Driver.
Botkin also composed dozens of well-known commercial jingles for advertisers in the US.
Additionally, Botkin and his business partner, George Tipton, discovered young singer-songwriter, Harry Nilsson, who was working at a bank at the time, and signed him to his first publishing contract.
Botkin was born in New York on April 16, 1933, but moved to Los Angeles with his family in 1936.
He began his career in music as a trombone player in a high school jazz quartet that included film composer John Williams on piano. He attended Indiana University and the film scoring program at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.
In 1955, he joined a vocal group called The Cheers who scored a major hit with their song Black Denim Trousers. He also had success as one-half of the duo The Fraternity Brothers.
Botkin came from a musically inclined family. His father, Perry Botkin Sr, composed the underscore for ’60s sitcom The Beverly Hillbillies and played guitar and banjo in Bing Crosby’s band, later appearing in several movies with him.
He is survived by his wife Liza, son David and grandson Daniel Tyler Botkin.