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Subject: NY Times obit

Mother was "Ghost singer" Marni Nixon, she outlived him by 5 years
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Date Posted: Thursday, June 06, 05:03:52pm
In reply to: singer, songwriter, musician, arranger 's message, "Archive: Andrew Gold, 3 June 2011" on Thursday, June 06, 03:00:54pm

Andrew Gold, a pop wunderkind who had barely finished high school when Linda Ronstadt enlisted him to play in her backup band, and who later had a successful recording career of his own with hits like “Lonely Boy” and “Thank You for Being a Friend,” died on Friday at his home in Encino, Calif. He was 59.

His family said that he had renal cancer and had been responding well to treatment but that the cause of death might have been a heart attack.

Mr. Gold’s combination of instrumental versatility and songwriting skill gave him a prominent if sometimes invisible role in shaping the Los Angeles-dominated pop-rock style of the 1970s. In addition to his instrumental and arranging work for Ms. Ronstadt’s breakout 1974 album, “Heart Like a Wheel,” Mr. Gold was a much sought after musician whose guitar and piano work (he also played bass and drums) helped define the seamless texture of recordings by artists like James Taylor, Carly Simon, Maria Muldaur, Jackson Browne and Loudon Wainwright III.

Though he was considered a masterly musician, he never learned to read music. “We gave him lessons on piano and guitar, but somehow he found it easier to just listen to something and play it by ear,” said Mr. Gold’s mother, the singer Marni Nixon.

Both of Mr. Gold’s parents were prominent musicians. Ms. Nixon, a classically trained soprano who has performed on Broadway and with the New York Philharmonic, is best known for dubbing the movie singing voices of Natalie Wood in “West Side Story” and Audrey Hepburn in “My Fair Lady.” His father, Ernest Gold, who died in 1999, wrote the Academy Award-winning score for the movie “Exodus,” as well as the scores for “Judgment at Nuremberg” and “Ship of Fools.”

“It was clear from the beginning that I was going to be a musician,” Mr. Gold told The Los Angeles Times in 1977.

Andrew Gold was born on Aug. 2, 1951, in Burbank, Calif., the first of his parents’ three children. He was attending the Oakwood School, a private high school in North Hollywood, when Ms. Ronstadt and her band, the Stone Poneys, performed there in the late 1960s. Mr. Gold introduced himself.

Mr. Gold is survived by his wife, Leslie Kogan; his mother; two sisters, Martha Carr and Melani Gold Friedman; and by his daughters Emily, Victoria and Olivia, from his first marriage, to Vanessa Gold, which ended in divorce.
After several years with Ms. Ronstadt, Mr. Gold began a solo career that produced pop hits like “Thank You for Being a Friend,” which later became the theme song for the long-running NBC sitcom “The Golden Girls.” He later recorded with Art Garfunkel, Brian Wilson, Cher and three former Beatles: John Lennon, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr.

Mr. Gold’s first solo hit, “Lonely Boy,” which reached No. 7 on the Billboard singles chart in 1977, resonated in his family at least as much as it did on the charts. It was the story of a first-born child who feels betrayed when a baby sister is born. “How could his parents have lied?” it goes. “He thought he was the only one. Oh, oh, what a lonely boy.”

The lyrics drew so many parallels to the songwriter’s life — “born on a summer day, 1951,” parents who resolved to “teach him what we’ve learned” — that his mother was taken aback.

“I said, ‘Andy, oh, my God, the pain you must have felt,’ ” Ms. Nixon said in an telephone interview Monday. “But he said he hadn’t even thought of it that way. He thought he was making it up.”

His sister Martha Carr, a psychotherapist, said that episode partly explained her brother’s success as a songwriter. “When Andy felt deeply,” she said, “he would just make it a song.”

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"Lonely Boy"Andrew GoldThursday, June 06, 05:06:54pm
What an insightful obit on Gold. I actually learned a lot about him, as a man. -And to think, just this ONE composition of “Thank You for Being a Friend", will forever leave his family $wimming in residual$ every time TV's "Golden Girls" (its theme song) plays on TV, which seems hourly these day$! ...Gold once said of the TV ditty, "...it was just this little throwaway thing" that took him "about an hour to write."Friday, June 07, 02:56:32am

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