- Category : Entertain-Music-Composer/Arranger
- Type : MGE
- Profile : 5/1 - Heretical / Investigator
- Definition : Triple Split
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Identification 1
American composer, arranger, and conductor often given credit for "making" the careers of such popular singers as Frank Sinatra and Rosemary Clooney.
He studied piano as a child, switching to trombone at the age of 14. During 1944 and 1945, he was a trombonist in Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, and in 1947 became arranger at NBC Radio. Then, working as a ghost-arranger for Nat King Cole, he had hits "Mona Lisa" in 1950, and "Too Young" in 1951, which made him come out of the anonymity as arranger, and set the stage for his work with Frank Sinatra, after Sinatra signed with Capitol Records in 1953. The first song was "I've Got the World on a String".
In 1959, Riddle worked with Ella Fitzgerald and Gershwin Songbook. Working for motion picture and television, he contributed to "The Young at Heart", "High Society", "Pal Joey", "Paint Your Wagon", "The Tender Trap", "Can-Can" , "Li'l Abner", ""A Hole in the Head", "The Great Gatsby" (for which he received an Academy Award for musical adaptation), "The Untouchables", "Naked City" and "Route 66", the first TV theme to become a chart-topper.
With the rock n' roll and electronic instruments becoming more popular during 1970's and 1980's, his career slowed down. But, in 1983, he did the musical arrangement for the whole album for Linda Ronstadt.
Riddle died on October 6, 1985, surrounded by his six children: Nelson Riddle III, Rosemary Riddle Acerra, Christopher Riddle, Bettina Bellini, Cecily Finnegan, and Maureen Riddle.
According to one of his biographers, Peter Levinson, in a letter to Pat Taglilatelo, Riddle's daughter Lenora Celeste was born on July 20, 1957 and died on February 12, 1958 and Doreen died on April 9, 1980.