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Spotlight >> Ross Bagdasarian


Ross Bagdasarian Born in Fresno, California on January 27, 1919, Ross Bagdasarian, a composer, author, producer, impressionist and prolific songwriter, started writing songs very early in life. In 1951, he and his cousin William Saroyan, wrote a number one hit for Rosemary Clooney titled "Come On-A My House." During his professional life he was better known by the stage name David Seville, which he used on his recordings featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks.As David Seville, he had another number-one record in his song, "The Witch Doctor," which was also his first experiment with the technique of speeding up the playback of an audio track to get the distinctive higher pitched squeaky comedy sound. This success led to his recording of "The Christmas Song" with the Chipmunks. "The Chipmunk Song," released by Liberty Records in 1958, sold more than four million copies in seven weeks and became a No. 1 hit single in the United States and received two Grammys. This earned Simon Waronker, the founder of Los Angeles-based Liberty Records, a footnote in pop-culture history: Liberty President Alvin Bennett, Waronker and chief engineer Theodore Keep are the Chipmunks' namesakes -- Alvin, Simon and Theodore. Liberty also produced two records by Bagdasarian's daughters Patience and Prudence. Ross also perfected the technique of piano song talk-overs in which the same piano bars are repeated and he would talk over the music as another character. In 1956, he wrote an instrumental piece titled "Armen's Theme." In one of his songs "Safari," he sings in a fake Italian/calypso voice: "Safari, safari, man is always on safari. He like love, but he no like to marry, 'cause man is always on safari". In the background the chorus tries to sound like African natives, singing "Safari, Ooli-wang". "Walla Walla Bing Bang" was written after his uncle moved to Walla Walla, Washington. In addition to producing many more albums, Bagdasarian also appeared in films, including Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, in which he plays an obsessed piano-playing songwriter. He also had bit parts in The Deep Six (1957), The Devil's Hairpin (1957), The Proud and Profane (1956), Three Violent People (1956), Hot Blood (1956), Alaska Seas (1954), Destination Gobi (1953), Stalag 17 (1953), Viva Zapata! (1952), and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). After his death in 1972 from a heart attack at the age of 52, his son, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., continued to release Chipmunks recordings and has taken over the voices for the Chipmunk characters in subsequent iterations of the cartoon.
FILMOGRAPHY (ACTOR) 
"THE ALVIN SHOW " (1961) TV Series (voice) .... Alvin/Simon/Theodore/David Seville
 
THE DEEP SIX (1958) .... Aaron Slobodjian
 
THE DEVIL'S HAIRPIN (1957) .... Tani
 
THREE VIOLENT PEOPLE (1957) .... Asuncion Ortega
 
THE PROUD AND PROFANE (1956) .... Louie
 
HOT BLOOD (1956) (uncredited) .... Gas Station Attendant... aka Bad Blood (USA)
 
KISMET (1955) (uncredited) .... Fevvol
 
REAR WINDOW (1954) .... Songwriter... aka Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window (USA: complete title)
 
ALASKA SEAS (1954) .... Joe, Jim's crewman
 
STALAG 17 (1953) (uncredited) .... Singing soldier
 
DESTINATION GOBI (1953) .... Sabatello
 
VIVA ZAPATA! (1952) (uncredited) .... Officer
 
THE GREATEST SHOW ON EARTH (1952) (uncredited) .... Man... aka Cecil B. DeMille's The Greatest Show on Earth (USA: complete title)
 
FILMOGRAPHY (COMPOSER) 
SWEPT AWAY (2002) (song "Come-On-A-My-House") ... aka Travolti dal destino (Italy)
 
ALMOST FAMOUS (2000) (song "The Chipmunk Song") (as Ross Bagdasarian Sr.) ... aka Untitled: Almost Famous the Bootleg Cut
 
DONNIE BRASCO (1997) (song "The Chipmunk Song")
 
CALL HER MOM (1972) (TV) (song)
 
"THE ALVIN SHOW " (1961) TV Series
 
THE DEVIL'S HAIRPIN (1957) (songs)
 
FELSH AND THE SPUR (1957) (title song)
 
THE BOLD AND THE BRAVE (1956) (song)
 
HOT BLOOD (1956) (songs) ... aka Bad Blood (USA)
 
THE STARS ARE SINGING (1953) (song "Come on-a My House") (uncredited)
 
FILMOGRAPHY (WRITER) 
THE CHIPMUNK ADVENTURE (1987) (characters)
 
"ALVIN & THE CHIPMUNKS " (1983) TV Series (characters) ... aka The Chipmunks ... aka The Chipmunks Go to the Movies
 
"THE ALVIN SHOW " (1961) TV Series (characters)
 
FILMOGRAPHY (MISCELANEOUS CREW) 
DONNIE BRASCO (1997) (singer: "The Chipmunk Song") (as David Seville)
 
HOT BLOOD (1956) (lyricist) ... aka Bad Blood (USA)
 
OTHER (NOTABLE TV GUEST APPEARANCES)
 "TOAST OF THE TOWN " playing "Singing Puppet Act" (as David Seville and the Chipmunks) (episode # 14.1) 25 September 1960
 
""TOAST OF THE TOWN" playing "Singing Puppet Act" (as David Seville and The Chipmunks) (episode # 13.29) 17 April 1960
 
""TOAST OF THE TOWN" playing "Singing Puppet Act" (as David Seville and the Chipmunks) (episode # 13.13) 13 December 1959
 
"THIS IS YOUR LIFE " playing "Himself" in episode: "Dick Clark" 24 June 1959
 
""TOAST OF THE TOWN" playing "Singer" (as David Seville and the Chipmunks) (episode # 12.25) 8 March 1959
 
""TOAST OF THE TOWN" playing "Himself" (as David Seville) (episode # 11.32) 4 May 1958
 


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