Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lorenzo Music, (May 2, 1937–August 4, 2001) was an American actor, voice actor, writer, television producer and musician. Born Gerald David Music in Brooklyn, New York, he is best known for providing the voice of the animated cartoon cat Garfield. He was also known as the voice of Carlton the doorman on the television show Rhoda.
Music was raised in Duluth, Minnesota where he attended the University of Minnesota. There he met his wife, Henrietta, and they formed a comedy duo Gerald and His Hen. They performed successfully for 8 years.
Music changed his first name to Lorenzo for spiritual reasons.
Music got his first professional job providing various voices to the cartoon The Jetsons in 1962. He became a writer and a regular performer on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour during 1968 and 1969. His work as a writer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970 would lead him to his big break.
Music was the creator of The Bob Newhart Show which went on the air in 1972 and ran for seven years. He also co-wrote the theme song to the show with Henrietta. He continued writing for the Mary Tyler Moore Show spin-off Rhoda. While casting Rhoda, the producers were looking for a voice-actor to play the part of a character that would be heard but never seen: Carlton the doorman. When they heard Music's sleepy, husky voice, they offered him that role, which made his voice recognizable to a worldwide television audience.
In 1976, Lorenzo and Henrietta were given the opportunity to host a television variety show of their own. The Lorenzo and Henrietta Music Show was produced in an era with a glut of television variety shows and did not last.
In 1982, Jim Davis's comic strip Garfield was the most popular strip in America. Compilation books of the strip were topping best seller lists and Davis was negotiating to make an animated television special. Producers needed someone to voice the main character in the strip: Garfield, a lazy, oafish and demanding cat. After one audition, Music was cast as the voice of Garfield. At this time, Music was voicing the character of Pac-Man in an animated series based on the video game.
Until 1991, Music's voice became an American staple as no less than 12 Garfield television specials (and Garfield and Friends, an animated television series that ran for 7 years) were produced. Music was called upon to help write and produce the shows as well. In the interim he became a favorite in the animation community voicing characters for shows like Tale Spin, The Real Ghostbusters, The Gummi Bears and Darkwing Duck. In 1994, Garfield and Friends went off the air and Music retired from the entertainment industry.
In 2001, Music died from complications with lung and bone cancer. He is survived by his wife, Henrietta; his daughters Roz and Leilani and his sons Fernando and Sam. Daughter Roz is a prominent Hollywood make-up artist (Adaptation; The Virgin Suicides ).
Strangely enough, in 2004 Bill Murray connected with Lorenzo Music for the second time, becoming the second person to voice Garfield the Cat. Music had portrayed Peter Venkman on the cartoon "The Real Ghostbusters," a reprise of Murray's film role. A deadpan delivery provided a common link between the two men.
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