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Mike Lang, Leading Jazz and Studio Pianist, Dies at 80

Jon Burlingame editorMike Lang, one of the preeminent pianists in Hollywood history, died of lung cancer Friday morning at his home in Studio City. He was 80.Lang played piano (or organ, harpsichord or celeste) on an estimated 2,000 film and TV scores dating back to the mid-1960s, including scores by virtually every great film composer of the past 50 years: John Williams (“Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Catch Me If You Can”), Jerry Goldsmith (“Gremlins,” “The Russia House”), John Barry (“Body Heat,” “The Specialist”), Henry Mancini (“10”), Alex North (“The Shoes of the Fisherman”), Elmer Bernstein (“The Rainmaker”), Miklós Rózsa (“Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid”) and many others.Composer Lalo Schifrin (“Mission: Impossible”) was among Lang’s earliest champions in Hollywood, adding Lang’s piano to what eventually became the Grammy-winning Paul Horn album “Jazz Suite on the Mass Texts” in 1965.

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