Back to :- Hollywood Forever - Celebrity Graves.
The Final Resting Place of NelsonRiddle.
1st.June 1921 - 6th.October 1985.
Located in the New Beth Olam Mausoleum far front right from entrance.
Cause of Death - Cardiac and Kidney failure.
Nelson Smock Riddle, Jr. was a well-known American bandleader, arranger and
orchestrater whose career spanned from the late 1940s until the early 1980s.Riddle was born in Oradell, New Jersey, the only child of Marie Albertine Riddle and Nelson Smock Riddle, Sr. Following his father's interest in music, he began taking piano lessons at age eight and trombone lessons at age fourteen. After his graduation from Ridgewood High School, Riddle spent his late teens and early 20s playing trombone in and occasionally arranging for various local dance bands, culminating in his association with the Charlie Spivak Orchestra.
In 1943, Riddle joined the Merchant Marine where he continued his musical work. After his enlistment term ended, Riddle
traveled to Chicago to join the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra in 1944; he remained the orchestra's third trombone for eleven months until drafted by the United States Army in April, 1945.
Just months after Riddle entered the Army, World War II ended and he was discharged in June 1946 after only fifteen months on active duty. Riddle moved shortly thereafter to Hollywood to pursue his career as an arranger, and spent the next several years ghostwriting arrangements for more established names in the music business, and also serving on the arranging staff at NBC.
In 1950, Riddle was hired by arranger Les Baxter to write arrangements for a recording session with Nat King Cole; this was one of Riddle's first associations with Capitol Records. Although one of the songs Riddle had arranged, "Mona Lisa," soon became the biggest selling single of Cole's career, the work was credited entirely to Baxter. However, once Cole learned the true identity of the arrangement's creator, he sought out Riddle's work for other sessions, and thus began a fruitful partnership that furthered the careers of both men at Capitol.
During the same year, Riddle also struck up a conversation with Vern Yocum,
a big band jazz musician who had transitioned into music preparation servicing Frank Sinatra. He also worked for Nat King Cole and other entertainers at Capitol Records. A collaboration followed with Vern becoming Riddle's "right hand" as copyist and librarian for the next thirty years.
In 1952, Capitol Records executives viewed the up-and-coming Riddle as a prime choice to arrange for the newly-arrived Frank Sinatra. Sinatra was reluctant however, preferring instead to remain with Axel Stordahl, his long-time collaborator from his Columbia Records years. When success of the first few Capitol sides with Stordahl proved disappointing, Sinatra eventually relented and Riddle was called in to arrange his first session for Sinatra, held on April 30, 1953. The first product of the Riddle-Sinatra partnership, "I've Got The World On A String", became a runaway hit and is often credited with relaunching the singer's slumping career. Riddle was to stay at Capitol for another decade, during which time he continued to arrange for Sinatra and Cole, in addition to such Capitol artists as Dean Martin, Keely Smith, and Ed Townsend. He also found time to release his own instrumental albums on the label, most notably "Hey...Let Yourself Go" (1957) and "C'mon...Get Happy" (1958), both of which peaked at a respectable number twenty on the Billboard charts.
In 1963, Riddle joined Sinatra's newly-established label Reprise Records. Much of his work in the 1960s and 1970s was for film and television, including his hit theme song for Route 66, steady work arranging episodes of Batman and other television series, and the scores of several motion pictures including the Rat Pack features Robin and the Seven Hoods and the original Ocean's Eleven. In the latter half of the 1960s, the partnership between Riddle and Frank Sinatra grew more distant as Sinatra began increasingly to turn to Don Costa, Billy May and an assortment of other arrangers for his album projects. Although Riddle would write various arrangements for Sinatra until the late 1970s, Strangers In The Night, released in 1966, was the last full album project the pair completed together. The collection of Riddle-arranged songs was intended to expand on the success of the title track, which had been a number one hit single for Sinatra arranged by Ernie Freeman.
Because of changes in musical tastes, Riddle only worked sporadically in the 1970s. During this time, the majority of his work was for film and television, including the score for the 1974 version of The Great Gatsby, which earned Riddle his first Academy Award after some five nominations. In 1973, he served as musical director for the Emmy Award winning The Julie Andrews Hour. In 1982, Riddle was approached by Linda Ronstadt and producer Peter Asher to write arrangements for an album of pop standards Ronstadt had been contemplating for some time. The end result was a three-album contract which included what were to be the last arrangements of Riddle's career. 1982 also saw Riddle work for the last time with Ella Fitzgerald, on her last orchestral Pablo album, The Best Is Yet to Come. Arrangements for Ronstadt's "What's New" (1983) and "Lush Life" (1984) won Riddle his second and third Grammy Awards (the last was awarded posthumously in 1986).
In 1985, Riddle died at age 64 of liver ailments. He is interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California.