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Lorenzo Music

'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; previous to that he was 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 break providing various voices to the popular cartoon "The Jetsons" in 1962. He became a writer and a regular performer on "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" between 1968-1969. It was his work as a writer on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in 1970 that would lead to the break that made him a star.

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 his wife. He went on to write for the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" spin-off "Rhoda". At the time of casting the producers were looking for a voice-actor to play the part of Carlton the Doorman, a character that would be heard but never seen. They felt Music's sleepy, husky voice would be perfect. The role made Music's voice recognizable to audiences world-wide.

Music and his wife were given a variety show of their own in 1976 called "The Lorenzo and Henrietta Music Show." However it was swallowed in a sea of similar shows and did not last. At the end of "Rhoda"'s run in 1978 Music negotiated with the network for his own spin-off show. "Carlton Your Doorman" debuted in 1980 to mixed reviews and poor ratings and was quickly cancelled.

By 1982 the comic strip "Garfield" by Jim Davis was the most popular strip in America. Books of the strip were topping the best seller list and Davis was in negotiations to make an animated television special. Producers wanted someone to voice the title character, a lazy, oafish and demanding fat-cat. They wanted an experienced voice actor with just the right sound, but also someone people would recognize. At the time Music was voicing the character of Pac-Man in an animated series based on the video game. After one audition he was immediately cast as the voice of Garfield.

Throughout the 1980s (until 1991) Music voice became an American staple as no less than 12 Garfield television specials (and a Garfield show 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). Moreover he will remain a legendary Hollywood comedian who brought joy and laughter into millions of people's homes as the loveable, lazy Garfield the cat.