Ken Welch, a composer and musician who, with his wife and co-writer Marilyn “Mitzie” Welch composed music for The Carol Burnett Show and wrote or produced material for TV specials starring Barbra Streisand, Julie Andrews, Dolly Parton and Olivia Newton-John, among many others, died Jan. 26 at his home in Encino, CA. He was 92.
Mitzie Welch died in 2014.
His death was announced today by his family, daughters Julie Welch and Oscar-nominated singer-songwriter Gillian Welch (her “When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs for Wings” from the Coen Brothers’ The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is nominated for Best Original Song).
Nominated for 19 Emmy Awards and winner of five, Ken Welch began his musical career writing and producing material for the 1961-62 Garry Moore Show. He accompanied Burnett on auditions in the late 1950s, and in 1957 wrote her breakthrough novelty song “I Made A Fool Of Myself Over John Foster Dulles.”
In 1962, he wrote the CBS TV special Julie and Carol at Carnegie Hall, starring Burnett and Andrews, and, with his wife (and nightclub partner) Mitzie continued his association with Burnett for seven seasons of her CBS variety show and beyond.
Other TV specials featuring the couple’s music or written material include 1973’s Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments; 1976’s Sills and Burnett at the Met (pictured above) and A Special Olivia Newton-John; 1979’s Dolly and Carol in Nashville; 1978’s The Star Wars Holiday Special; 1979’s The Hal Linden Special; 1987’s Carol, Carl, Whoopi and Robin; 1989’s America’s All-Star Tribute to Elizabeth Taylor; and 2006’s Manilow: Music and Passion.
The Welches’ Emmy wins include 1980’s Linda in Wonderland (starring Linda Lavin), 1978’s Ben Vereen – His Roots; The Carol Burnett Show in 1976; and two for 1973’s Barbra Streisand and Other Musical Instruments. Their most recent nomination was for 2005’s Once Upon A Mattress, starring Burnett on ABC.
Services are pending.