Mitch Miller, of ‘Sing Along With Mitch’ fame, dies


(JTA) — Mitch Miller, a band leader who won fame as the host of the "Sing Along With Mitch" television show, has died.

Miller, also an executive at Columbia Records who guided the careers of such stars as Rosemary Clooney, Tony Bennett, Jerry Vale, Marty Robbins, Johnny Mathis and Mahalia Jackson, died last Saturday in New York. He was 99.

Miller’s band, Mitch Miller and the Gang, hit No. 1 in 1955 with "The Yellow Rose of Texas" and had hit albums that included a series of sing-along records. This led to the "Sing Along With Mitch" series in 1961, which enjoyed high ratings until it ended in 1966. Miller also was a highly regarded oboist.

In 2000, he won a special Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.

The son of Russian Jewish immigrants, Miller also recorded a choral-orchestral version of the Israeli folk song "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena."

Miller disliked rock-and-roll and left his executive position at Columbia in 1965. During his tenure with the record company, he turned down Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly for contracts.

Miller was born on July 4, 1911 in Rochester, N.Y.

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