Buddy Bregman, noted Hollywood music arranger, composer, director, and producer, whose credits include the film versions of Broadway‘s The Pajama Game and Panama Hattie, died January 8 in Los Angeles at age 86, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
He had a single Broadway credit, arranging music for the concert show Jerry Lewis at the Palace in 1953.
Nevertheless, he was responsible for arranging many classic showtunes from the 1940s to the 1960s for pop singers including Judy Garland, Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, Rosemary Clooney, Sammy Davis Jr., Mel Torme, and Shirley Bassey, and was employed as personal orchestrator for Ethel Merman‘s concert shows. Several of his Broadway-derived arrangements are considered classics by audiophiles, notably Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Cole Porter Song Book and Ella Fitzgerald Sings the Rodgers & Hart Song Book.
Here is Fitzgerald singing to Bregman’s arrangement of Porter’s “You’re the Top”:
Bregman began his career at Verve Records, becoming head of the Artists and Repertoire division, which brought him into contact with the pop stars with whom he would collaborate for the rest of his career.
He later directed extensively for television, including the series The Jonathan Winters Show and The Danny Thomas Hour, and specials including The World of Richard Rodgers, Tribute to Cole Porter, An Evening with Ethel Merman, Great Broadway Showstoppers, and Judy Garland in Concert.
Bregman also had a single credit on the Oscar-winning film Terms of Endearment, which used his arrangement of Cole Porter‘s “Anything Goes,” as sung along with by Debra Winger.
Bregman had several acting credits of his own as well, including appearing with Sammy Davis Jr. in a 1958 Los Angeles production of the stage play, The Desperate Hours.
He was the nephew of Broadway composer Jule Styne. His daughter, actor Tracey Bregman, is featured on the CBS-TV soap, The Young and the Restless.