LORENZO MUSIC, voice of Garfield and creator of comedy shows, dies of lung cancer

Wednesday, August 8th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Lorenzo Music, who provided the distinctive voice of ``Garfield'' the cartoon cat and worked on television series including ``The Bob Newhart Show'' and ``Rhoda,'' has died. He was 64.

Music died of lung cancer Saturday at his home. He worked until about a month ago, when he recorded Garfield's voice for an automobile advertisement, said his wife, Henrietta.

``The most compelling thing about him was the sort of relentless, easy, everyday humor,'' she said Tuesday. ``He had a dry, sharp wit and it was quick. He was cracking jokes on Thursday; we were all sitting around in his room.''

Music won an Emmy as a writer for the ``Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour'' in 1969 and went on to become a story editor for ``The Mary Tyler Moore Show.'' He co-wrote with his wife the theme song for ``The Bob Newhart Show,'' which he helped create.

Music and his partner David Davis created ``Rhoda,'' a spinoff to ``The Mary Tyler Moore Show,'' and Music became the voice of Carlton the doorman, who communicated through an intercom but was never seen.

``Valerie's heart is breaking, but Rhoda is certain that Carlton the doorman is giving St. Peter at the gate a run for his money,'' said Valerie Harper, the star of ``Rhoda.''

Music went on to work full time as a voice actor, portraying several cartoon characters and eventually voicing ``Garfield'' in prime-time animated specials and for a Saturday morning series that aired for seven years.

Music born Gerald David Music on May 2, 1937, in New York City and grew up in Duluth, Minn. He attended the University of Minnesota, where he met his wife. The pair formed a comedy act that lasted eight years. Music later took the first name Lorenzo for spiritual reasons, his wife said.

Music is survived by his wife and their four children.