‘The Simpsons’ team mourns music editor Chris Ledesma: ‘A sweet man who loved his job’
Chris Ledesma, the former longtime music editor for the hit animated TV series “The Simpsons,” has died. He was 64.
Fox confirmed Ledesma’s death to The Times on Tuesday, just days after announcing it in a Sunday episode of “The Simpsons.” The first episode of the new year concluded with a post-credits tribute card that featured the titular family sitting down on their couch with a cartoon rendering of Ledesma.
“In loving memory of Chris Ledesma,” read the tribute. The drawing showed the cartoon Ledesma holding a conductor’s baton while Simpson children Lisa, Maggie and Bart played instruments.
The music of “The Simpsons” will be in the spotlight starting Friday when the long-running Fox animated series takes over the Hollywood Bowl for a live concert extravaganza featuring songs performed by cast members and other guests, including Conan O’Brien and “Weird Al” Yankovic.
He died Dec. 16, 2022, in Los Angeles, Fox said. No cause of death has been revealed.
In a statement shared with The Times on Tuesday, “The Simpsons” showrunner and executive producer Matt Selman said: “Ledesma poured his heart and soul into crafting the musical language of The Simpsons.
“Chris imbued every episode of the show over 33 seasons with his deep knowledge and even deeper passion for the music which has become a part of so many peoples’ lives,” Selman continued. “Chris will always be a vital member of the The Simpsons family, and his loss is felt deeply by the many who loved him.”
Ledesma served as the music editor on “The Simpsons” since its launch in 1989 and worked on more than 30 seasons and 700 episodes until he stepped away from the role in May 2022.
Also celebrating Ledesma for his work on the beloved, long-running Fox series was “The Simpsons” writer Carolyn Omine. On Sunday, Omine wrote, “Ledesma was a sweet man who loved his job and was really, really good at it. We miss him.”
Jake Schaefer, who took over as music editor for “The Simpsons” after Ledesma, celebrated his predecessor and his inspiring “passion for music.”
“I’m grateful for the time I got to spend with him this year. He was a great mentor and a genuine person,” Schaefer tweeted.“My heart goes out to his family. Rest In Peace Chris.”
Producer and director David Silverman dubbed Ledesma “a terrific and wonderful guy who was terrific and wonderful at his job.”
In an interview with the New York Times, actor Hank Azaria discusses why he won’t play the beloved but controversial “Simpsons” character Apu anymore.
“A solid musician and music editor,” Silverman added. “Great conductor too. A real loss for all.”
According to his blog, Ledesma studied orchestra conducting at the California Institute of the Arts
and began his music editing career in the ’70s. In 1984, he landed a job as a tour guide at Universal Studios, where he would observe live orchestra sessions and meet music editors including Segue Music boss Dan Carlin Jr., who took Ledesma under his wing.
A tribute to “The Simpsons” by the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and others.
Ledesma served as the music editor for “The Simpsons” for a majority of his career but also worked on TV titles including “Bette,” “The Nanny,” “Dark Shadows” and “The Tracey Ullman Show.”
“There are no words to describe the feeling to be part of a show that has touched so many lives, elicited so many laughs, started so many arguments over its appropriateness, inspired so many memes, and has brought together people from around the world with a universal shout in the night: D’oh!’” Ledesma said in a 2017 blog post.
He continued: “I’ve often said I’m the luckiest music editor in Hollywood — not just because I’ve been employed on ONE SHOW for 28+ years, but because I get to laugh, listen to great music, interact with our brilliant cast, share ideas with our writers and producers, and be part of television history. Sure, like with any family, we have our down moments and disagreements, but it’s all been so, SO worth it.
Ledesma is survived by his wife, two daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren.
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