Bob Mitchell Memorial

FUNERALS/MEMORIALS

Bob Mitchell 

 

Bob Mitchell-program

The funeral for organist Bob Mitchell, who died on July 4, 2009, was held yesterday at Christ the King Roman Catholic Church. Interment was at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. The following is from his funeral program:

 

Bob Mitchell was born in Los Angeles on October 12, 1912. He began piano study at four and pipe organ at the age of ten. He accompanied silent movies beginning in 1924 (age twelve) until 1928 when sound replaced live music. At eighteen, he was the youngest candidate to receive the degree of Fellow of the American Guild of Organists (F.A.G.O). He was a scholarship winner at Eastman School of Music and the New York College of Music and still found time to sing and play on his own radio show in New York City.

 

Returning to Los Angeles, he founded the Mitchell Choirboys in 1934 – which continued for nearly 70 years. They performed in some one hundred motion pictures, most notably Going My Way, The Bishop’s Wife, and White Christmas. They toured extensively – five times abroad and once around the world, and made thousands of radio and TV appearances.

 

Bob served overseas in the Navy during World War II, and was pianist/organist for Meredith Willson’s Armed Forces Radio Service Orchestra.

 

He served as staff pianist/organist at several Los Angeles radio stations – KFI, KHJ, KECA, among others, and on TV with Art Linkletter’s House Party, The Jack LaLanne Show, and even The Mitchell Choirboys Show. Bob and the choir were featured in the Academy-monimated short film Forty Boys and a Song, and he was  honored on Ralph Edwards’ This is Your Life

 

Bob was organist for four years for the Dodgers and Angels at the then new stadium, the only person to ‘play’ for both the National and American leagues at the same time. He was musical director for many religious institutions over his 87 years as a professional musician, and most recently regularly exciting his many fans at the Silent Movie Theatre, Hollywood. Bob passed away peacefully on Saturday afternoon, July 4, 2009.

 

Bob Mitchell's crypt

 

Bob Mitchell’s crypt at Hollywood Forever Cemetery  at the Sanctuary of Memories, Elevation 8, Crypt C-49 (this is the new section in front of the Abbey of the Psalms, the second corrider to your right as you face the Abbey). Bob’s crypt is the one at the top (third row) center. The flowers are from his service.

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6 Responses to “Bob Mitchell Memorial”

  1. Jim Lacy says:

    Amid the current hoop-te-do over the final wherabouts of a certain departed mega-star, it’s good to know that other talented figures in the entertainment world — albeit far less known to the general public– also get their due as they leave us. Thanks. Allan– great info and pix, as always!

  2. Graceann says:

    Thank you for this beautiful tribute to Mr. Mitchell. I got to see him perform once; he was magnificent.

  3. I feel so fortunate to have had the chance to see him play at the Silent Movie Theatre, and now to know that he will be my neighbor for eternity. Thank you Allan for another very moving tribute.

  4. Landman says:

    Thanks Allan for the tribute to Bob on your blog. Not long ago I was watching the Jack Lalanne show, and I take it that Bob was at the keyboard. I made the comment at the time, whoever the organist was, could make it “talk”. Jack would ask a question, the the “organ” would answer. What an amazing musician. God bless you Bob for the years of enjoyment you gave to us. Anything to add Allan as far as the Jack Lalanne show and Bobs talent?

  5. Andre says:

    Allan,
    Have you ever seen a picture of Bob Mitchell as a young man?
    I was told he had a (longtime?) companion at one point. Do you know who that was?

  6. Richard Goss says:

    I worked for Bob from about 1958 into the 60´s, but had an earlier connection since his choir house had been my mother´s home. Until her death 2 years ago, they had kept in contact. I have lived in Spain for the past 10 years, but until my mother´s death paid an annual visit to Bob. To me he was always an old man, so he was always the same person never changed, amazing memory of things that seemed like yesterday. I will miss him.

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