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May 15, 2007: Death of Duluth songwriter Ira Cook

On this day in 2007 Duluth songwriter and radio show host Ira Cook Ira died in California at the age of ninety. Cook was born in Duluth in 1916 and in 1934 graduated Duluth Central High School, where he had been active with the yearbook, the school newspaper, and the class play; he also ran cross country and played on the golf and tennis teams. Later that year he left the Zenith City to attend Stanford University, graduating in 1938 with a medical degree. About the same time, his parents moved to Los Angeles, where Ira took a job in radio as a record librarian and announcer. He served in World War II, saw action in the Battle of the Bulge, and later broadcast over Armed Forces Radio. In 1949, he began a long career at Los Angeles radio station KMPC. He broadcast The Ira Cook Show in the mornings and was known for playing Hawaiian music. Cook was also a songwriter, composing and collaborating on tunes such as “Pony Tail,” “Hawaii Hawaii,” “Have a Happy Day,” and “Sunday Barbecue.” He also acted in movies and on television, appearing in small roles in The Stars are Singing (1953), The Five Pennies (1959), The Geisha Boy (1958), and The Ladies Man (1961), as well as episodes of Dragnet, Marcus Welby, M.D., McCloud, and Ironsides. In 1952, Cook wrote a book, Cook…With the Stars, which included favorite recipes of stars including Elvis Presley, Nat King Cole, and Sammy Davis Jr. Read more about Cook here.

Ira Cook. (Image: Old Time Radio Catalog)