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LOS ANGELES, California (AP) — Neal Hefti, a Big Band trumpeter, arranger and composer of themes for the movie “The Odd Couple” and the “Batman” television series, has died. He was 85.

Hefti died Saturday at his home, said his son Paul Hefti.

Neal Hefti’s notable achievements include the iconic theme of the 1960s superhero series “Batman,” which became a Top 40 hit and won a Grammy Award in 1966 for best instrumental theme. He also composed music for “The Odd Couple,” “Barefoot in the Park” and “Harlow,” which featured his classic track “Girl Talk.”

His son said the “Batman” theme was Neal Hefti’s most difficult piece, taking him at least one month to compose the driving bass and explosive trumpet bursts.

“He threw away more music paper on this thing than any other song,” Paul Hefti told The Associated Press. “It got down to the blues with a funny guitar hook, the lowest common denominator and a fun groove.”

Neal Hefti was born October 29, 1922, in Hastings, Nebraska, and played trumpet with local bands as a teenager to earn money.

As an adult, he worked with and arranged music for the greats of the Big Band era, including Count Basie, Woody Herman, Charlie Spivak and Harry James.

“He was one of the really great arrangers and composers of all time,” radio and television personality Gary Owens, a longtime friend, told the Los Angeles Times.


Your Special Gift

Each of us is born with a specific genius that was bestowed upon us so we can do our part to make this world a better place. All of us have a role that we’re uniquely suited for. Imagine our planet without trees, oceans, or clouds. In this same way, when one of us doesn’t develop or use our special gift, a cosmic void takes place.

This unique talent or ability may be hidden from your own sight like a golden treasure buried under shifting sands. Often, we spend so much time dazzled by the talents of others that we can overlook our own gifts. It may even be that our unique ability is something we view negatively. Perhaps we find it difficult concentrating on any one subject for long; meanwhile, others are thrilled by our ability to weave various ideas throughout our conversations. Or, you might think of yourself as “frivolous,” when it’s likely your charming approach to life casts a light of inspiration that others can’t help but follow. It’s important for all of us to try to find our special gift and discover how we can best express it. Ask others to name what they think is your most overlooked talent or character trait. Their answers may change your life.

Explore these riches that are yours to express, and you may find yourself helping others discover and develop their own blessings. Acknowledge and appreciate the gifts you see in those around you. Tell your neighbor that loves to garden how much her green thumb enlivens the whole block. Thank your coworker for always greeting your days together with a smile. Tell your close friends that their ability to listen makes your world a better place. Our unique gifts are like golden rays of expression that can encircle the world with light.

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