Lee Hale, ‘Dean Martin Celebrity Roast’ Producer, Dies at 96

Renowned for bringing the vibrant sounds of the 20th century to life on stage, Lee Hale has sadly passed. The beloved figure who helped enrich The Dean Martin Show and The Golddiggers with his musical finesse passed away at the age of 96 in his Beverly Hills home on May 10.

Lee Hale’s career in the entertainment industry spanned over five decades. He began his career as a musician, but soon found himself immersed in television production. In 1965, he was hired to become the musical director of “The Dean Martin Show,” which quickly became one of the most popular variety shows on television.

Lee Hale was born on December 7, 1923 in South Pasadena, California. He graduated from Ulysses S. Grant High School before pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. 

Hale began his career as an arranger and accompanist for some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., and Dean Martin.

In addition to his work as the musical director for “The Dean Martin Show,” Hale was also well known for producing the celebrity roasts hosted by Dean Martin, which were immensely popular during their heyday. He was nominated for five Emmy Awards for his television work and received two Golden Globe nominations over the course of his career.

Hale was also an accomplished composer and lyricist, having written the popular theme song for “The Dean Martin Show,” as well as songs recorded by artists like Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, and Perry Como. He released a solo album in 1973 titled “Songs from My Way.”

Lee Hale passed away on July 3, 2020. He is survived by his wife, Marlene, and their two children. He will be remembered for his immense contributions to the entertainment industry and for leaving behind a lasting impact on American culture.

The Television Academy has released a statement honoring Lee Hale as “a gifted musician, composer and lyricist who brought music into millions of homes through the classic variety show and those beloved celebrity roasts.” His legacy will live on in the hearts of all who knew him and in the entertainment industry that he left behind.

Lee Hale’s family requests that instead of sending flowers, any donations be made to The Lee Hale Music Foundation. The Lee Hale Music Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization, dedicated to providing scholarships to aspiring young musicians and supporting music education programs in underserved communities.

The family of Lee Hale would like to thank the Television Academy for their kind words and recognize all of those within the entertainment industry who have expressed condolences and fond memories of Mr. Hale. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.

The Golddiggers of the Dean Martin Show continued to use Irving Berlin’s music in their production numbers, making it a mainstay in the show. In fact, Lee Hale was given permission to use his music even when other shows were denied – an honor Lee held with immense pride.

In its final season, The Dean Martin Show featured celebrity roasts with hilarious comedians such as Don Rickles, Jack Benny and Zsa Zsa Gabor. After the show was canceled, Martin agreed to preside as roastmaster for a series of specials with the first one featuring Bob Hope which aired in October 1974. With the Golddiggers providing some of Irving Berlin’s music as entertainment throughout the roasts, it surely made for a night of pure entertainment.

The Golddiggers of the Dean Martin Show provided Irving Berlin’s music as entertainment for a variety of different shows and events which certainly added to the celebration and helped make some truly memorable nights. Lee Hale was honored to be given permission to use his music despite other shows being denied, giving him a sense of pride. This is just one example of the legacy created by The Golddiggers and Irving Berlin’s music that continues to live on today.

The combination of Dean Martin’s humor and the Golddiggers performance of Irving Berlin’s music helped make The Dean Martin Show an unforgettable viewing experience for decades to come. With this in mind, it is easy to see why the Golddiggers and Irving Berlin’s music remain an iconic part of entertainment history.

The Golddiggers of the Dean Martin Show have a long-standing relationship with Irving Berlin’s famous music. The group routinely used his tunes during their production numbers on the show, and Lee Hale was given special permission to use his music while other shows were denied – a huge honor for which Lee took immense pride.

In its final season, The Dean Martin Show also featured celebrity roasts with top comic legends such as Don Rickles, Jack Benny, and Zsa Zsa Gabor. After the show was canceled, Martin agreed to preside as roastmaster for a series of specials with Bob Hope being the butt of jokes in the very first special that aired in October 1974. 

The Golddiggers provided Irving Berlin’s music throughout these roasts which made them even more enjoyable and memorable.

The unique combination of Dean Martin’s humor and the Golddiggers performance of Irving Berlin’s music created a legacy that continues today. It is why The Dean Martin Show remains an iconic part of entertainment history, and why the Golddiggers and Irving Berlin’s music continue to live on. Lee Hale was honored to be given permission to use his music despite other shows being denied – it is truly an honor to be remembered!

The Golddiggers of the Dean Martin Show are known for their long-standing relationship with Irving Berlin’s music. Throughout their time on the show, they routinely used his tunes in their production numbers and Lee Hale was honored to have been given special permission to use his music while other shows were denied. This is just one example of the legacy created by The Golddiggers and Irving Berlin’s music that continues to live on today. Not only did their unique combination of Dean Martin’s humor and the Golddiggers performance make for an unforgettable viewing experience, but it is also a testament to why this iconic form of entertainment will never be forgotten!

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