Les Brown Jr., a musician whose entertainment career also included acting, writing, directing and producing, died of cancer Jan. 9 at his home in Branson, Mo, his family announced. He was 82.
Brown Jr. was the son of composer and band leader Les Brown Sr., who led Les Brown and His Band of Renown. After the death of his father in 2001, Brown became the full-time leader of his father’s band, continuing to perform throughout the world and in a regular big band show in Branson, Mo.
In his youth, Brown Jr. also worked as an actor on many TV shows and films, including “Gunsmoke,” “Lassie,” “General Hospital,” “F-Troop,” “The Lucy Show,” “Green Acres,” “Gilligan’s Island,” “Wild, Wild Winter” and “The Baileys of Balboa,” the latter in which he had a co-starring role as Jim Bailey.
His extensive music career began with the solo album “Wildest Drums Yet!” and included being the drummer and vocalist for his band the Rockin’ Foo, performing with the likes of Carlos Santana during his touring days. He was also a concert promoter and record producer for jazz and country music artists including Merle Haggard, Shirley Jones, Doris Day, Mickey Gilley, The Lettermen and Loretta Lynn.
He later hosted a national radio show on the “Music of Your Life” network, and most recently a show titled after the Band of Renown on SiriusXM’s 40s Junction.
Brown Jr. was born in New York City in 1940 to Les and Claire Brown. He will be remembered for his love of horseback riding, sports cars and his dog, Romeo.
Brown Jr. is survived by his wife of 21 years, Alexa Brown, daughter Emily Cabral, son Christopher Brown, grandchildren McCoy, Winden and Soleil Brown, stepson Blake Worrell, stepdaughters Kelli and Erin Ellis, sister Denise Marsh-Jordan, nephews Jeff Marsh and Michael Lyons, cousins Teri Brown and Bruce Brown and uncle Clyde Brow.