Buddy Kaye, 84; Prolific Songwriter and Lyricist

From a Times Staff Writer

Buddy Kaye, a songwriter and lyricist whose work was recorded by Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Barry Manilow and Pat Boone, has died. He was 84.

Kaye died of a heart attack Thursday at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, according to his son Richard.

Born Jules Leonard Kaye in New York City, Kaye played saxophone as a young man in local clubs and on ocean cruises.

He was also learning to become a songwriter, and began his career in the late 1930s. Over the next six decades, he wrote more than 400 published songs.


Some of his most popular songs were “Till the End of Time,” recorded by Como, and “Full Moon and Empty Arms,” recorded by Sinatra. Written with collaborator Ted Mossman, the melodies were based on themes by Chopin and Rachmaninoff.

He also wrote “ ‘A’ You’re Adorable” for Como; “Old Songs,” recorded by Manilow; and the novelty tune “Speedy Gonzales,” recorded by Boone, which was an international hit.

For television, Kaye co-wrote the theme for the popular series “I Dream of Jeannie.” For films, he wrote the title songs for “Change of Habit” and “The Trouble With Girls,” two Elvis Presley films.

He was producer and director of “The Little Prince,” which was narrated by Richard Burton and won a Grammy for best children’s recording in 1975.

He had just completed the book and lyrics for “Garbo ... The Musical,” a work based on the life of actress Greta Garbo.

Kaye taught songwriting at UCLA Extension for 11 years and, more recently, at College of the Desert.

He was also an author, with books including “The Wisdom of Baltasar Gracian” and “The Gift of Acabar,” which he wrote with Og Mandino.

In addition to his son Richard, Kaye is survived by his wife, Lillian; two other children, Barbara and Ronald; and three grandchildren.