Harold V. Lazaron, 81, performer on Broadway, musical therapist

September 27, 2001|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

Harold Victor Lazaron, a musical therapist and former broadcast and Broadway performer, died Sept. 20 when he was struck by a car on Northern Parkway. He was on his way to lead a music class at Good Samaritan Nursing Center, where he entertained patients.

The Mount Washington resident was 81.

Born in Baltimore and raised in Pikesville, he was the son of Rabbi Morris S. Lazaron, the spiritual leader of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, who died in 1979.

Mr. Lazaron began his musical career at age 13 when as a Park School student he composed a three-act operetta based on the life of explorer Ferdinand Magellan. He sang the lead.

He studied voice and musical theory at the Juilliard School in New York, where he graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. While there he performed with the Gilbert and Sullivan Players. Much later, in 1974, he appeared in the Baltimore Comic Opera Company production of Princess Ida in the role of King Gama.

"Throughout his life, he loved Gilbert and Sullivan," said his sister, Clementine Lazaron Kaufman. "His hero was Martin Green, the English actor who played so many of their roles."

On Sept. 5, 1946, he made his Broadway debut at the Shubert Theatre in the role of Pierre in Yours Is My Heart, an operetta by composer Franz Lehar that is also known as The Land of Smiles. He appeared opposite tenor Richard Tauber, who had fled Nazi Germany. The show closed after 36 performances when Mr. Tauber became ill.

Mr. Lazaron returned to Baltimore, where he enrolled at the Peabody Conservatory and simultaneously performed on a WCBM-AM radio program, "A Ditty a Day."

"It was a live show. Each day he would take The Evening Sun's headline and compose a patter song," his sister recalled. "He could take the names of the mayor and the City Council members, string them together and make a rhyme. It was very Gilbert and Sullivan."

When he lacked a sponsor for the show, he invented one -- an imaginary product called Edissyaw, which he described on air as sideways spelled sideways.

"He was very witty and had a fantastic sense of humor," said his wife of 25 years, the former Peggy Gilbane.

Wearing a birthday cake as a crown, he appeared as the character Captain Twinklehead in an early Bert Claster live children's television show, Birthday Land.

Mr. Lazeron graduated from Peabody in 1957 and continued his studies at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, where he earned a master's degree in music therapy.

He worked with disabled children at the state's Rosewood Hospital Center in Owings Mills.

During the past 15 years he entertained and conducted musical sing-alongs at Augsberg Lutheran Home, Keswick Multi-Care Center, Pleasant Manor Nursing Center, Concord House and Good Samaritan Nursing Center, where he also played hymns on the organ during Catholic Masses.

Mr. Lazaron worked for better understanding between the Christian and Jewish faiths by participating in seders at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church in Taneytown

Services were held Sunday.

In addition to his wife and sister, he is survived by three sons, George Owen Barnhart of Taneytown, Richard Stephen Barnhart of Baltimore and Victor Lazaron of New England; four daughters, Muriel Barnhart, Sharon Jaymes and Melinda Lazaron, all of Baltimore, and Leslie Thomas of Rehoboth Beach, Del.; six grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.

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