Ray Charles was a choral director and composer best known for his three decades of work with Perry Como and for singing the theme song to the hit television series Three’s Company.
His musical career spanned radio, television, films and records. As an expert in his field, the “other Ray Charles,” as he was often described, was also a consultant for The Kennedy Center Honors for 31 years. He arranged and composed music for the television series Your Hit Parade, Sha-Na-Na, Perry Como's Kraft Music Hall, The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, The Val Doonican Music Show and 36 episodes of The Muppet Show.
Charles was the winner of two Emmy Awards and was nominated for five more. He won in 1971 for Outstanding Achievement in Music, Lyrics and Special Material for the television movie The First Nine Months Are the Hardest, starring Dick Van Dyke. He won again the following year in the same category for the short-lived series The Funny Side, starring Gene Kelly, which was a sketch and variety program about the humorous side of marriage.
Charles got his start at the age of 13, when he won a radio singing contest, which he followed up with his own 15-minute program at the age of 16. Over the course of his career he would work with Sid Caesar, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie Andrews and Tony Bennett among others, and record more than 30 albums with his band The Ray Charles Singers.
Charles died April 6, 2015, in Beverly Hills, California. He was 96.