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2012 Don Grady
In 1957, 13-year-old Don Agrati caught the attention of director Sidney Miller and earned an audition for Walt Disney himself. He landed a contract to appear on the original Mickey Mouse Club. “I was the plug-in Mouse,” Grady recalled. “When they couldn't find outside talent to bring in for Talent Round-Up Day, they'd turn me into a calypso singer, a Japanese emissary, or a Mexican balladeer. I would learn a new song and play a different instrument for each character.”
After one season as a Mouseketeer, Don left the show, changed his name to Don Grady, and pursued a career as a dramatic actor. He soon landed roles on such series as The Rifleman, Have Gun Will Travel and The Lucy Show, working with legendary talent that included Joan Crawford, Lucille Ball and Angela Lansbury. But his real fame came from an 11-year stint as Robbie Douglas on the classic sitcom, My Three Sons.
Don also found success in other disciplines of show business. At 19, he earned a recording contract at Capitol Records and wrote many of the songs he performed on My Three Sons. Don left My Three Sons to embark on a career as a recording artist. He wrote and produced Homegrown, an original album (released as Don Agrati).
Following his first live theatrical performance starring in the national tour of Pippin, Don moved to New York, and appeared in many musicals, including Godspell, Damn Yankees, and Tom Sawyer. It was there that he made the pivotal decision to launch full time into writing music. Soon, he began composing music for the live stunt shows at Universal Studios. Don went on to create the theme song for The Phil Donahue Show, and became the music director for George Lucas Live, a 3-hour arena event for which he conducted the London Symphony Orchestra. He also served as music director and composer for EFX, a theatrical event that ran for eight years at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas.
As fate would have it, Don returned to Disney in 2001, composing music for more than 30 Disney DVDs, including the Platinum Edition releases of The Emperor's New Groove, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Aladdin and The Jungle Book. Other Disney highlights include a new Winnie the Pooh theme, songs for Disney's Magic English, scoring game animations, and the first original Princess songs in 50 years: The Princess Tea Party Album, The Princess Christmas Album, and The Princess Birthday Party Album.
Don passed away in 2012.