Duane L. Tatro, a music composer for dozens of TV series and concert works for orchestral wind ensemble and chamber groups, has died. He passed on Sunday at his home in Bell Canyon, Calif at age 93.
Tatro was a respected member of the composing community. His long resume includes such series as Dynasty, The Love Boat, Barnaby Jones, The FBI, Mannix, Hawaii Five-0, and M*A*S*H, among others. His first series was the science fiction classic The Invaders in 1967.
Despite his long history with television music, Tatro’s lone series theme credit was The Manhunter, a Quinn Martin production which lasted just a single season in 1974-75.
Born in Van Nuys on May 18, 1927, Tatro played saxophone with Stan Kenton’s big band at age 16, then served in the Navy near the end of World War II. He later studied music at the University of Southern California.
Tatro later studied in Paris with classical composers Arthur Honegger and Darius Milhaud. In between his studies, he led jazz bands in Paris and other parts of in Europe in the late 1940s.
Tatro’s debut album Jazz for Moderns arrived in 1956. He later contributed a piece, Rubricity, to Red Norvo’s 1957 album, and wrote Sally IV for Kenton’s Neophonic Orchestra in 1966.
His resume included many TV movies, including The House on Greenapple Road and Paper Man.
One of the capstones of his career was lecturing on 20th century music and composing for film at San Diego State and New Mexico State universities.
Tatro served for 19 years on the board of directors of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC). He served as vice president for 15 years.
Survivors include his wife of 56 years, Francoise, sons Tim and Mitch, and daughter Michelle, along with six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. No memorial plans have been revealed.
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