Star Trek composer dies

Star Trek composer dies


norman lebrecht

June 27, 2011

Fred Steiner wrote many of the early Star Trek soundtracks, but is best known for the Perry Mason theme – a blood-chilling tune for a TV detective, played by Raymond Burr (who later created Ironside). Here it is.

And here’s his Variety obit.

Fred had pedigree. He was the son of the Laurel and Hardy composer, George Steiner.


  • Raymond Burr played two major TV roles: Perry Mason, a criminal defense lawyer who could walk; and Ironside, a detective confined to a wheel chair. The opening theme for Perry Mason, entitled “Park Avenue Beat” is very famous and is by Fred Steiner.

  • Tommy says:

    Norman, I think you might be getting Perry Mason confused with Ironside (who was also played by Raymond Burr but was the one in a wheelchair).

    And to be fair to Steiner, I’m not sure it’s quite right to say he was ‘best known’ as the composer of the Perry Mason theme. I would imagine most people have no idea who wrote it (although it is very well known in the USA). Steiner’s fame, such as it was, lay deep in the studio system, and those that worked within it, for decades. His sure hand, skill and taste graced a huge number of projects and he worked with some of the best in the business (he was one of those himself).

    His loss means yet another connection with the old system (composers working their arses off in the studio system churning out original music for TV every single day – a great seat-of-your-pants way of learning the craft that is missing today) is gone. Those guys really understood their art.

  • Hi Norman

    Fact fans might like to know that the theme for Ironside was written by music legend Quincy Jones.