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Walter Kent; Composer and Lyricist

Walter Kent, the composer and lyricist who had never been within 3,000 miles of those famous cliffs of chalk when he wrote “Blue Birds Over the White Cliffs of Dover,” one of the most treasured songs of World War II, has died.

A spokeswoman for the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers said Kent was 82 when he died March 1 at his home in Woodland Hills.

Kent, who wrote or co-wrote many other popular songs, including “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and scores for the Broadway show “Seventeen” and “Lucille Ball’s Christmas Show,” had gone to Dover for the first time in 1989.

“It’s how I imagined they would be all those years ago,” he said at the time.

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In Dover, he participated in planning a tourist center, to further commemorate the area where millions faced the Nazi onslaught. It was envisioned as the first of several heritage centers in Britain, and Kent donated an original manuscript of his song.

It was first recorded by Vera Lynn in 1941 and became an overnight symbol of Allied resistance and hope in the dark, early days of the war.

A funeral service has been scheduled today at Mt. Sinai Mortuary on Forest Lawn Drive in Los Angeles.


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