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Obituaries : Gene Vincent de Paul, 68; Pianist and Composer

February 29, 1988|ANN WIENER | Times Staff Writer

Composer, pianist and musical arranger Gene Vincent de Paul, who collaborated on the Academy Award-winning score for the 1954 musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," died Saturday at his Northridge home.

De Paul, 68, had an inoperable brain tumor, his son, Tony de Paul, said.

Born in New York on June 17, 1919, some of De Paul's biggest hits were "Star Eyes," "Irresistible," "Cow Cow Boogie," "When You're in Love," "Mr. Five by Five," and "I'll Remember April," a song that inspired de Paul to name his daughter April, Tony de Paul said.

Oscar Nomination

De Paul's collaboration with lyricist Don Raye on the song "Pigfoot Pete" from the film "Hellzapoppin" got them a 1942 Oscar nomination. He also teamed up with lyricist Johnny Mercer for the 1956 Broadway musical score "Li'l Abner."

De Paul was inducted to the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1985. "We were so proud of him. We all flew to New York to accompany him. He gave a speech and said he would cherish this for the rest of his life and he really did," the younger de Paul recalled. "It was a real hallmark for him."

De Paul also worked for Walt Disney Studios and collaborated on the music for "Alice in Wonderland," "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and "The Headless Horseman," Tonly de Paul said.

Re-Recorded by Stars

His music has been re-recorded by artists such as Stevie Wonder, Ray Charles, Al Jarreau and Phoebe Snow, the younger de Paul said.

De Paul is survived by a daughter, three sons and two grandchildren. The funeral will be held on Thursday at 1 p.m. at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations may be made to the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Library Fund for Purchase of Books, in memory of Gene Vincent de Paul.

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