Duane L. Tatro, composer for over 20 well known TV series including Dynasty and Love Boat, died in his home on Sunday, according to Variety. Tatro’s music is attached to action TV shows such as The FBI, Mannix, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Cade’s County, Cannon, Most Wanted, Vega$, Matt Houston, and M*A*S*H, to name a few.
Born in 1927, Tatro played saxophone with the popular Stan Kenton’s band when he was just 16 years old. After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, he studied music at the University of Southern California. Tatro eventually followed his passion for music to Paris with classical composers Arthur Honegger and Darius Milhaud where he led jazz bands throughout Europe in the late 1940s. He returned to the states in the 1950s and continued his studies under composer George Tremblay at USC.
Tatro released his debut album in 1956 and named it Jazz for Moderns. The album featured Lennie Niehaus on alto sax, Bill Holman on tenor, and Shelly Manne on drums. It was overall well-received by critics.
Tatro began his career in TV composing in 1967 with his first series, the sci-fi thriller The Invaders. He wasn’t added to the roster of The Invaders composers until fellow composer Richard Markowitz (The Wild Wild West) suggested him to the music supervisor. The Invaders soundtrack album was not released until last year. Nearly a decade later, he composed the series theme for The Manhunter, which only lasted one season.
In a 1992 interview, Tatro stated, “All of the 20th century techniques of composition that I’ve been exposed to, I’ve been able to use in those shows. Not every cue, but there were always two or three spots where you could vent to your imagination. Sometimes they were very experimental, but those were the very things that brought you back to compose the next episode,” via Variety.
He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Francoise, and his kids, Tim, Mitch, and Michelle, as well as 6 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren.