Official EARLE HAGEN Website

Welcome to the BEST OF ALL WORLDS - the life and music of

Earle Hagen
July 9, 1919 - May 26, 2008

honoring one of the greatest gentlemen in the entertainment world,
the genius and generosity that was Earle Hagen

When one considers the vast range Earle Hagen's career has covered, and just where he was at each stage in his life - playing trombone in the big bands during the 30s, writing arrangements for Frank Sinatra, working at 20th Century Fox during the reign of Alfred Newman, creating  TV themes and scores for Sheldon Leonard shows, not to mention teaching brilliant young composers the art of scoring, and publishing the top texts in his field -  it can truly be said that he lived through the best times in each of these worlds.


As a pioneer of television music, Earle Hagen formed an independent contracting company, and scored more than 4000 hours of programming. Best known for his infectious theme for The Andy Griffith Show, sometimes working on as many as five weekly series at the same time, he also composed the music for other perennial favorites like The Dick Van Dyke Show, The MOD Squad, The Danny Thomas Show, That Girl, and all the Mayberry-centered series.                  

Oscar-nominated as joint Musical Director for Let's Make Love,  Earle Hagen  orchestrated films for 20th Century Fox during its Golden Age , including some of its top musicals, later also  working as principal scorer .

Earle Hagen played trombone with the celebrated Tommy Dorsey (with Earle Hagen at right) and Benny Goodman big bands, and while with the Ray Noble Orchestra, composed one of the greatest standards of them all, Harlem Nocturne.

His Emmy-winning scccccore for the I Spy series broke new ground and set standards in television music which have seldom been matched.

READ    "I Spy" scores

An arranger for many top stars, he was also leader of the Spencer-Hagen orchestra, backing  the foremost vocalists in show business, in addition to making albums of his own.

Earle Hagen is the author of the principal text books on Scoring for Film as well as teaching hundreds of emerging young composers for his BMI scoring workshops.

Earle Hagen comments on why his career spanned The Best of All Worlds when honored by his peers of the American Society of Musicians Arrangers & Composers.

Earle Hagen is interviewed by his protege, Emmy-winning composer Bruce Babcock.

In his “retirement” years, Earle Hagen has  composed the music for a stage musical, acted as impresario for jazz concerts, written his autobiography, “Memories of A Famous Composer Nobody Ever Heard Of” and produced a DVD for singer Laura Gunn (since January 2005, Mrs. Earle Hagen ).  His 85th birthday  was celebrated at the Hollywood Bowl with a gala concert.

READ    News
Earle Hagen's talents and interests extended well beyond the sphere of music, but to the maestro, the Best of The Best was always his family. and after you've learned about still more of his other talents on the last of these entries, remember that we haven't even mentioned one for which he has been heard but not seen,  with one of the best-known whistling performances of them all -   that on The Andy Griffith Show theme!

READ        The Best of the Best

We treasure the memory of this great human being and musician, and if you too would like to add to the tributes on the In Memoriam page, (or have other questions or comments), just type the following address in a new message

Earle HagenEarle HagenEarle HagenEarle Hagen

Laura and Earle Hagen on their Wedding day


Following Earle Hagen's induction into the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Hall of Fame, the Randy Groves bust of our beloved genius, commissioned by Laura Hagen, has be placed in the Hall of Fame Sculpture Garden.  Below is the bust in situ and a photo of Laura Hagen standing beside it.


The noted Canadian sculptor was the unquestionable choice, and the mix of his tremendous talent and close personal friendship with the great composer and conductor has resulted in a piece that not only reflects Earle's image, but brings to life all his warmth, character and joie de vivre as well.

Below you see artist Randy Groves at the casting works, standing beside the wax edition for the bronze bust and Randy working on the early stages of his sculpture.

Randy Groves with Earle Hagen sculpture

Visit Southwood Sculpture - Randy Groves' online gallery

and for more pictures from the TV Academy Hall of Fame Sculpture Garden,
see the end of this page

Randy Groves' bust of Earle Hagen at the TV Hall of Fame Sculpture Garden



For years Earle Hagen was house arranger for the Liberty record label, and his support and encouragement of the remastering of the albums of liberty artists Bud and Travis is acknowledged with sincere appreciation.  You can now purchase the resulting Bud & Travis CDs at

We'd also like to draw your attention to another website showcasing the I Spy TV series, the scores for which represent one of Earle Hagen's greatest triumphs

All the above could not have been possible without the companionship, love and support of his wife of six decades, Lou Hagen, who in heaven as well as on earth, has always made beautiful things happen!  It is with affection and admiration that this website is dedicated to her.

READ        Lou Hagen

Read Earle Hagen's wonderful autobiography

We ask your prayers / Good Thoughts for the recovery of a gallant lady, MAUREEN ASPELL.  A direct descendant of the 16th century “pirate queen” Grace O'Malley, Maureen is an honor to her family, and dearly loved by all.