PASSINGS: Bill Monroe, John Strauss


Bill Monroe

Host of NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’

Bill Monroe, 90, who hosted the long-running Washington political television show “Meet the Press” for nearly a decade, died Thursday at a Washington-area nursing home.

Monroe was the NBC show’s fourth moderator, from 1975 to 1984, and interviewed prominent political figures ranging from President Carter to Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.


Tim Russert, the best-known host of “Meet the Press,” assumed the host’s chair in 1991 after a series of short stints by others after Monroe’s departure.

Monroe’s daughter, Lee Monroe, said her father had taken a fall in December that put him in a nursing home and he had not been well since.

Bill Monroe was born in New Orleans on July 17, 1920. He graduated from Tulane University, served in World War II and later began his career in television journalism at the New Orleans’ NBC affiliate, WDSU.

In 1961, he moved to Washington, where he became NBC’s bureau chief. He worked on the “Today Show,” winning a Peabody Award in 1972, and succeeded Lawrence Spivak as host of “Meet the Press” in 1975.

John Strauss

Composer won an Emmy and Grammy


John Strauss, 90, a film and television composer and music editor/supervisor who composed the theme for the 1960s sitcom “Car 54, Where Are You?” and won a Grammy Award in 1984 as the producer of the “Amadeus” soundtrack album, died Monday at a nursing home in West Los Angeles after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

During his nearly five-decade career, Strauss shared an Emmy Award for sound editing on the 1977 TV movie “The Amazing Howard Hughes.”

Strauss, who once was married to actress Charlotte Rae, wrote the theme song for 1950s sitcom “The Phil Silvers Show” and scored the 1976 Elaine May film “Mikey and Nicky.” On “Amadeus,” he was the music coordinator and is briefly seen on screen as a conductor.

As a sound editor or sound effects editor, his credits include Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run,” “Bananas” and “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask)”.

Strauss was born in New York City on April 28, 1920, and served in the Army in France and North Africa during World War II.

After the war, he studied at the Yale School of Music. He taught briefly at New York’s High School of Performing Arts and composed two ballets for the Joffrey Ballet.

His opera “The Accused” was performed by Patricia Neway and televised on “NBC Opera Theatre.”

— Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports