(August 28, 1920 in Orland, California
– May 10, 1998 in Glendale, California
) was an American
musician, possibly the most famous virtuoso
of the theatre organ
of the modern era.
Wright was best known for his virtuoso performances on the huge Wurlitzer
theater pipe organs at the famed Fox Theater on Market Street in San Francisco
and the ornate Paramount Theaters in both New York
. He was in constant demand during the 1940s, '50s and early '60s, playing at concerts and recitals around the world.
George Wright learned to play the piano at an early age from his mother who was a private music teacher. He grew up in Stockton
, where he graduated from Grant Union High School
. One of his first projects was installing a theater organ there, where it still remains and plays.
In 1938 he had his first playing job at a Chinese night club in Oakland called the Shanghai Terrace Bowl which boasted a 2-manual, 6-rank Wurlitzer; the show was broadcast nightly by an Oakland radio station. In 1941, he joined San Francisco
radio station KFRC and performed at the Fox Theater on Saturday nights. In 1944, he relocated to New York City
to work as organist and musical director at the Paramount on Times Square
. He began recording at this time, first cutting 78 RPM records for Syd Nathan
's King Records
. In New York he played on Jack Berch's NBC
show and later guested with Paul Whiteman
and Percy Faith
, as well as on the network shows of Bing Crosby
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