Morty Nevins, last surviving original member of The Three Suns, the instrumental and vocal group that sold millions of records in the 1940s and '50s, has died at his Beverly Hills home.
His daughter, Ferielle Faine, said Tuesday that her composer father was 73 when he died Friday after a brief battle with cancer.
With Morty Nevins on accordion, his brother, Al Nevins, on guitar and cousin Artie Dunn on organ and vocals, the group ranked at the top of the best-seller lists through two decades with such hits as "Twilight Time" and "Peg o' My Heart."
Faine said her father had written "Twilight Time," the trio's signature song, by himself but had shared credit with his colleagues until the original group disbanded in the late 1950s. After that, title to the song reverted solely to her father, she said.
(The Platters later made their own success of the tune with lyrics added by Buck Ram.)
Over the years, The Three Suns sold several million recordings on the old Hit, Majestic and later RCA-Victor labels, with "Twilight Time" and "Peg o' My Heart" alone accounting for more than 5 million.
The three men first played together in 1939 after Al Nevins, who played nearly all the string instruments, and Morty, proficient on both accordion and piano, teamed with Dunn, a former theater organist in Massachusetts.
They were booked into clubs and hotels across the country, sang often on radio and remained a unit, Faine said, until Al Nevins' health began to fail.
They also became a mainstay on singer Kate Smith's afternoon TV show in the early 1950s.
Al Nevins and Don Kirschner then formed Aldon Music, once one of the leading music publishing firms in the country, while Dunn kept the trio going using other musicians for the next several years.
Morty Nevins, who retired along with his brother, continued to compose music, his daughter said. Among his hit songs are "These Things I Offer You for a Lifetime," "Lovers' Gold," "You Are My Destiny" and "Midnight for Two."
Al Nevins died in 1965 and Dunn in 1989.
A funeral service for Morty Nevins is scheduled Thursday at 2 p.m. at Glasband Willen Mortuaries in West Hollywood. He will be buried in the family plot in Flushing, N.Y.