Sid Ramin, ‘West Side Story’ Orchestrator and a Composer, Dies at 100

Sid Ramin, an orchestrator, arranger and composer who won both an Oscar and a Grammy for his work on the film “West Side Story” and whose career outlets ranged from revered Broadway musicals to perfume commercials, died on Monday at his home in Manhattan. He was 100.

The death was confirmed by his son, Ron.

Mr. Ramin (pronounced RAY-min) was one of two orchestrators — three, if you count the contributions of the composer, Leonard Bernstein, a lifelong friend — on the original Broadway production of “West Side Story,” which opened in 1957. According to “The Sound of Broadway Music” (2009), by Steven Suskin, Mr. Ramin worked on the haunting ballad “Somewhere,” the evocative “Something’s Coming,” the sweetly comic “I Feel Pretty,” the bravado-of-youth anthem “Here Come the Jets” and the irreverent “Gee, Officer Krupke.”

Sid Ramin could easily have put the letters EGOT after his name, as one of the small group of artists who have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. But the Tonys did not formally honor orchestration until 1997, four years after his last Broadway show (“The Red Shoes”). His 1983 Emmy was not usually the first award he talked about; it was for his work on the daytime drama “All My Children.”

If EGOC had existed instead, Mr. Ramin would have easily qualified: He won 12 Clio Awards, the advertising industry’s highest honor.

“Let’s set up a bridge table at the pool and work poolside,” Mr. Ramin said he suggested. When the two men, who had also worked together on the Broadway production, decided to take a break and a swim, all their pages flew into the pool beside them — and they had been working in ink. The moral: “We decided we should not go Hollywood.”

Mr. Ramin always contended that aside from his early colloquy with Bernstein, he had no training in orchestration — and that he never learned to play a musical instrument. Before joining the Army, though, he did attend the New England Conservatory of Music, as well as Boston University.

He spent five years in the Army, much of it in France, where he created original productions for the Army band. In 1946 he moved to New York City, where he attended Columbia University with the help of the G.I. Bill.

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