Al Sack
Al Sack was a conductor, composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, arranger, and violin
The violin is a string instrument, usually with four strings tuned in perfect fifths. It is the smallest, highest-pitched member of the violin family of string instruments, which includes the viola and cello....

ist whose career spanned from the late 1920s up until his passing in 1947. He is primarily associated with his work on radio and records through partnerships with artists like Tony Martin
Tony Martin
Anthony or Tony Martin may refer to:Education*Tony Martin , professor at Wellesley College known for racial controversies in the early 1990s.*Donald A...

, Andy Russell
Andy Russell
Charles Andrew "Andy" Russell wore number 34 as linebacker for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1963 and from 1966–1976, the two-year gap being from when Russell temporarily left the team for the Army. He was an early member of Pittsburgh's famed Steel Curtain defense, and was named the Steelers' MVP...

, Gracie Fields
Gracie Fields
Dame Gracie Fields, DBE , was an English-born, later Italian-based actress, singer and comedienne and star of both cinema and music hall.-Early life:...

, Dinah Shore
Dinah Shore
Dinah Shore was an American singer, actress, and television personality...

, and Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers, born Leonard Franklin Slye , was an American singer and cowboy actor, one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised stars of his era, as well as being the namesake of the Roy Rogers Restaurants franchised chain...



Albert E. Sack was born in New York, New York, to Stara and Benjamin Sack. His parents settled early on in his life in Cleveland, Ohio, where his musical talents were developed through the study of violin and composition technique. His father, a tailor by trade, was an amateur musician and planted the seed of love for music in his son. Al Sack credited his violin skills, which received considerable acclaim throughout his life, to his teacher, Rudolph Ringwall (assistant conductor of the Cleveland Symphony Orchestra, 1926-1934).

In 1928, at the age of 17, he received his first professional job as a violinist in the orchestra of the NBC
The National Broadcasting Company is an American commercial broadcasting television network and former radio network headquartered in the GE Building in New York City's Rockefeller Center with additional major offices near Los Angeles and in Chicago...

 radio affiliate in Cleveland. He stayed with the orchestra for six years, where he would ultimately conduct. From 1936-1938 he toured the U.S. and Canada as a conductor with the highly popular vaudevillian comedy team of Olsen and Johnson
Olsen and Johnson
John Sigvard "Ole" Olsen and Harold Ogden "Chic" Johnson were zany American comedians of vaudeville, radio, the Broadway stage, motion pictures and television. Their shows were noted for their crazy blackout gags and orchestrated mayhem...

. After the tour ended he moved to Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 where he became the first violinist with the KHJ
KHJ Radio in Los Angeles, California broadcasts Spanish-language entertainment programming as La Ranchera. It was also one of America's most formidable Top 40 radio stations in the 1960s and 1970s as 93 KHJ before changing its format in 1980....

 radio orchestra.

From 1940 through 1943, Sack expanded his talents by arranging for David Rose
David Rose
David Rose was a British-born American songwriter, composer, arranger, pianist, and orchestra leader. His most famous compositions were "The Stripper", "Holiday for Strings", and "Calypso Melody"...

 on the California Melodies program. The show included Hollywood stars like Dinah Shore, Gracie Fields, Ginny Simms
Ginny Simms
Ginny Simms was an American Popular Singer and film actress. She labeled with Dinah Shore, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, Jo Stafford and others. Born in San Antonio, Texas, she sang with big bands and worked as MGM contract player film actress.She appeared in 11 movies from 1939 to 1951, when she...

, and Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra
Francis Albert "Frank" Sinatra was an American singer and actor.Beginning his musical career in the swing era with Harry James and Tommy Dorsey, Sinatra became an unprecedentedly successful solo artist in the early to mid-1940s, after being signed to Columbia Records in 1943. Being the idol of the...

. During this time Sack came to the attention of Paul Whiteman
Paul Whiteman
Paul Samuel Whiteman was an American bandleader and orchestral director.Leader of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920s, Whiteman's recordings were immensely successful, and press notices often referred to him as the "King of Jazz"...

, who hired him in the summer of 1943, to be his associate director and chief arranger. The partnership with Paul Whiteman led to Sack's hiring as the music director for the NBC Blue Network, where he worked on many shows including The Beulah Show
Beulah (series)
The Beulah Show is an American situation-comedy series that ran on CBS radio from 1945 to 1954, and on ABC television from 1950 to 1952. The show is notable for being the first sitcom to star an African American actress.-Radio:...

 and The Adventures of Maisie
The Adventures of Maisie
The Adventures of Maisie was a radio comedy series starring Ann Sothern as underemployed entertainer Maisie Ravier, a spin-off of Sothern's successful 1939-1947 Maisie movie series...

. A few of the stars that he conducted for at the network included Tony Martin, Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor
Eddie Cantor was an American "illustrated song" performer, comedian, dancer, singer, actor and songwriter...

, Andy Russell, Ann Southern, Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire
Fred Astaire was an American film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer and actor. His stage and subsequent film career spanned a total of 76 years, during which he made 31 musical films. He was named the fifth Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute...

, and Dinah Shore.

Sack's work also extended to motion pictures, where he went largely uncredited. In 1939 he served as a violin double for Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard
Leslie Howard may refer to:*Leslie Howard , English stage performer who became star of Hollywood films during 1930s*Leslie Howard , Australian-born British pianist and composer...

 in David Selznick's picture, Intermezzo
Intermezzo (1939 film)
Intermezzo is a romantic film made in the USA by Selznick International Pictures. It was directed by Gregory Ratoff and produced by David O. Selznick. It is a remake of the Swedish film Intermezzo . The screenplay by George O'Neil was based on the screenplay of the original film by Gösta Stevens...

. Beginning in 1944 he began working with Walt Disney Studios
Walt Disney Studios
The name Walt Disney Studios may refer to:* The Walt Disney Company, especially its Studio Entertainment unit, which includes Disney's motion picture studios, music labels, theatrical production company, and distribution companies...

 as an orchestrator and conductor on the films The Three Caballeros
The Three Caballeros
The Three Caballeros is a 1944 American animated feature film, produced by Walt Disney and distributed by RKO Radio Pictures. The film premiered in Mexico City on December 21, 1944. It was released in the United States on February 3, 1945...

, Make Mine Music
Make Mine Music
Make Mine Music is an animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on August 15, 1946. It is the eighth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series....

, and Melody Time
Melody Time
Melody Time is a 1948 animated feature produced by Walt Disney and released to theatres by RKO Radio Pictures on May 27, 1948. Made up of several sequences set to popular music and folk music, the film is, like Make Mine Music before it, the popular music version of Fantasia Melody Time is a 1948...

— he received credit for the latter.

In 1945 Sack began recording for Black and White Records. During a period of less than two years he made three highly successful albums under his own name called Velvet Moods, Latin Moods, and Magic Moods. Some of his popular compositions, included “Moonlight Memoirs,” “Midnight Reveries,” “Love You Dearly,” and “In a Breeze."

His health suffered throughout his life from rheumatic heart disease, which afflicted him since a child. On December 6, 1947, he suffered a fatal heart attack with the official cause of death listed as bronchial pneumonia. He was survived by his wife, Rose (1912-1972), and his daughter, Stara (1937-2011).

Tony Martin

Throughout the mid 1940s Sack also worked extensively with singer Tony Martin. Most notably he served as the music director for The Tony Martin Show on radio, which resulted in the 1946 Gold Cup Distinguished Radio Award by Orchestra World magazine. He also produced a number of hit singles on Mercury Records with Tony Martin. One record, "To Each His Own," achieved a gold record sales certification.


  • Velvet Moods (Black and White Records, 1947)
  • Latin Moods (Black and White Records, 1947)
  • Magic Moods (Black and White Records, 1947)

External links

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