CHRIS CONNELLY PIANIST CHRIS CONNEY PIANO, the pianos’ famous leader and one of the most prominent stars in Hollywood, died on Monday.
He was 86.
He died in Los Angeles after a short illness, his agent, Michael Tisserand, told The Associated Press.
He had been in a nursing home in Beverly Hills, the agency said.
Connelly was born in St. Louis, but moved to Los Angeles when he was a teenager.
He won the 1959 Pulitzer Prize for music for his “The Star-Spangled Banner” on Broadway, which was nominated for an Oscar.
He made his major-label debut with “The Piano Concerto No. 2” in 1959, a landmark album that became a hit in the U.S. and worldwide.
The pianist was also known for his operatic performance as well as his popular radio show, the Chris Connellys, from which he retired in 1994.
In 2012, he published his autobiography, “The Man Who Played the Piano: My Life in the World of the Piano,” which chronicled his life in Hollywood.
“I feel that it is a tremendous honor to share this story with the world,” Connelly said in a statement.
“It is also a great honor to be a member of the family of music and to serve as the voice of the pianists in the world.”
His daughter, Susan Connelly Connelly-Connelly, said he was “the first pianist I ever saw, the first person I ever heard play the piano and the first musician I ever met.”
He also had a close relationship with the late singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, whose music she said he played with great respect.
She said she and her father met at a concert in Los Angles, where they had a chance to chat.
“Chris was a great friend, and he taught me to love music,” Dylan told The Los Angeles Times.
“He had a beautiful voice and a beautiful soul.
He gave me the gifts that I need.”
In 2012 he played his first solo concert at the Hollywood Bowl.
He played the piano for about 30 minutes before he had to take a break to get some water.
He sang the entire song, “When I Was Your Man,” which he had written for the record, and played with the crowd at the end.
His father, George Connelly Sr., died in 1995.
He wrote his last song for “The Beatles,” “Hey Jude,” in 2004.
He is survived by his wife, Susan.
“A pianist is someone who can do the simplest of things and make the most beautiful sound, but who also can do something very complex,” his daughter, Barbara Connelly.
“My father was a huge music lover and a huge lover of art,” she told the AP.
“Music was his life.
And he would go out of his way to see artists and people perform.”
The singer-turned-actor is survived in his family by his daughter Susan and three grandchildren.
His brother-in-law, Bill Connelly Jr., said the family is in mourning.
“His legacy will live on forever,” he said in an Instagram post.
“Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family, friends and fans.
Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
“He touched so many people, both good and bad,” Bob Dylan said in 2011.
“The people he touched, he touched in a way I haven’t seen from anyone since, and that’s really sad.”
He said his father was one of his “best friends.”
“Chris had a wonderful voice and he was incredibly generous with it,” he told Rolling Stone.
“In fact, he said to me once, ‘I think my life has gone down the drain.’
He’s one of my best friends.”
Connelly also had an illustrious musical career, playing with such stars as Sammy Davis Jr., Robert Hunter, and John Wayne.
He appeared on the popular TV show “Sons of Anarchy” as one of two lead actors and played a supporting role in the 1970 film “Black Swan.”
He later starred in “Livin’ on a Prayer,” “American Pie,” “The Good Wife,” “Masters of Sex,” and “Hairspray.”
He died of cancer in 2014 at age 77.