Perry Botkin Jr. Dies: Oscar-Nominated, Grammy-Winning Composer Known For “Nadia’s Theme” Was 87

Perry Botkin Jr. The Wrecking via YouTube

Perry Botkin Jr., the Oscar-nominated and Grammy-winning TV and film composer known for creating the The Young and The Restless theme, has died. Botkin’s friend and The Happy Days of Garry Marshall writer John Scheinfeld announced the news on Facebook, noting that Botkin died on Monday. He was 87.

“Today I share the news that the man who discovered Harry (Nilsson) and signed him to his first publishing contract, a gentleman and gentle-man named Perry Botkin, passed away on Monday at age 87,” Scheinfeld wrote. “Perry was a magnificently talented composer, arranger, producer and story-teller, perhaps best known for composing the Grammy-winning Nadia’s Theme for the CBS soap ‘The Young and the Restless.'”

Born on April 16, 1933, in New York, Botkin kicked off his music career in Los Angeles as a trombone player in a high school jazz quartet. His musical passions brought him to Indiana University and eventually the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where he pursued the film scoring program.

The son of The Beverly Hillbillies composer Perry Botkin Sr., Botkin began his foray into the entertainment industry in 1956, where he appeared as Bunny Botkin in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. However his first music project came in 1958, where helped create the soundtrack for The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. His first composing credit came in 1965 for My Brother the Angel.

Among the most notable titles featuring Botkin’s works are Happy Days, Mork and Mindy, Laverne and Shirley, Adam’s Rib and The Smothers Brothers Show. However, Botkin is most known for his oeuvre “Nadia’s Theme,” which he composed with Barry De Vorzon.

The delicate, yet dramatic, number gained popularity upon the debut of CBS’ The Young and The Restless in 1973. However, the number launched into further more notoriety when ABC’s Wide World of Sports featured the song in a montage for the 1976 Summer Olympics that highlighted Romanian gymnast Nadia Comāneci’s gold-worthy routines that earned the first perfect scores in Olympics history.

“Nadia’s Theme” peaked at No. 8 in the U.S. and went on to win a Grammy for Best Instrumental Arrangement, which Botkin shared with Harry Betts.

Many other artists would record the song, including Ray Conniff, Roger Williams and the Venutes. Mary J. Blige even sampled “Nadia’s Theme” for her hit, “No More Drama.”

In 1972, Botkin and De Vorzon shared a Best Music, Original Song Oscar nomination for the title song from Stanley Kramer’s Bless the Beasts & Children. Botkin’s film work included scores for Goin’ South, Skyjacked and They Only Kill Their Masters.

Survivors are Botkin’s wife Liza, son David and grandson Daniel Tyler Botkin.

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