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John Morris, ‘Blazing Saddles’ and ‘Young Frankenstein’ Composer, Dies at 91

John Morris, Oscar-nominated, Emmy-winning composer for many of the classic Mel Brooks comedies including “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein,” died Thursday at his home in Red Hook, N.Y. He was 91.

Morris was Oscar-nominated for co-writing, with Brooks, the title song for “Blazing Saddles” – a sendup of classic movie cowboy tunes sung by Frankie Laine for the opening of Brooks’ 1974 film. Morris was nominated again in 1980 for his dramatic score for the Brooks-produced “The Elephant Man.”

Morris served as Brooks’ composer beginning with “The Producers” in 1967; he wrote the original arrangement for Brooks’ famous “Springtime for Hitler” song, and composed the rest of the underscore.

Morris’ most famous score is undoubtedly “Young Frankenstein,” for which he composed a memorable violin theme that plays a key role in the story. Under the title “Transylvanian Lullaby,” it has even been performed by top classical artists from violinist Gil Shaham to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The composer

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