b. 19 October 1911, New York City, New York, USA, d. 10 May 2002, Los Angeles, California, USA. A composer, arranger, conductor and record producer, Cates was educated at New York University. He went to work for comedy team Olsen and Johnson, arranging music for their revue Hellazpoppin, and also worked for big bands led by Henry Busse, Dick Stabile and Russ Morgan. After serving in the US Navy during World War II, Cates settled in Los Angeles, where he became a producer for Coral Records and Dot Records, and was music supervisor for band leader Lawrence Welk’s extremely successful 50s and 60s television shows. He later composed Welk’s theme song, ‘Champagne Time’.
In 1955, Cates provided the accompaniment for Steve Allen’s piano solo on a hit recording of ‘Autumn Leaves’, shortly after Allen founded the famous The Tonight Show. He also made records with his own orchestra, mainly of film songs and themes, including ‘Moonglow’/‘Theme From ‘Picnic’’ in 1955 (which sold over a million copies and reached the US Top 5), ‘Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)’, from the Doris Day movie The Man Who Knew Too Much, and the title songs from Friendly Persuasion (1956) and the fairly obscure Bing Crosby movie Man On Fire (1957). Cates died of heart failure in 2002.