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Paul Weston; Music Conductor and Arranger

September 23, 1996| From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Paul Weston, a conductor and arranger for such musical greats as Rudy Vallee and Bing Crosby and a founder of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, has died. He was 84.

Weston died Friday of natural causes at St. Johns Hospital in Santa Monica, said his son, jazz guitarist Tim Weston.

Weston's career spanned nearly 50 years, and he worked with many artists, including Bob Hope, Jim Nabors, Dinah Shore, Judy Garland, Dean Martin, Doris Day and Rosemary Clooney. But his favorite partnership was with his wife, singer Jo Stafford, with whom he created the fictional duo of Jonathan and Darlene Edwards, a farcical lounge act whose antics earned the pair a cult following--and the 1960 Grammy for best comedy album.

In addition to being a founder of the recording academy, Weston served as its first national president. He also served as an executive with Capitol Records and Columbia Records and was musical director for NBC-TV for five years beginning in 1957.

As a composer, Weston was responsible for such pop songs as "Day by Day," "I Should Care," "Shrimp Boats" and "Autumn in Rome."

"His talent was only exceeded by his sweet personality," said longtime family friend Jan Sarnoff.

Weston's music career began as a graduate student at Columbia University in 1933, when he was injured in a train wreck and began writing musical arrangements to pass the time during his convalescence.

After his recovery, he sold some of those arrangements to the Joe Haymes Orchestra. Vallee heard them and hired Weston as an arranger for his Fleischman Hour on radio.

Weston came to Hollywood in 1940 and arranged the score for the film "Holiday Inn" with Crosby and Fred Astaire.

He also served as musical director during the 1968 initial season of the hit TV variety show "Laugh In" and was the musical director of TV's "Bob Newhart Show."

In addition to his wife and son, Weston is survived by daughter Amy, a professional singer, and grandchildren Anna, Caleigh, William and Griffin. All live in the Los Angeles area.

Services are scheduled Tuesday at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills, Tim Weston said.

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