Ross BagdasarianMonday, April 15, 2019
Ross Bagdasarian (January 27, 1919 – January 16, 1972), pianist, songwriter, actor, and record producer was born in Fresno, California. During his professional life, he was better known by the stage name David Seville, which he used on his recordings featuring Alvin and the Chipmunks.
His first musical success was Rosemary Clooney's "Come to On-a My House", which he wrote with his cousin, novelist William Saroyan. As David Seville, he had another number-one record in his song, "The Witch Doctor", which was also his first experiment with the technique of speeding up the playback of an audio track to get the most-distinctive higher pitched squeaky comedy sound. This success led to his recording of "The Christmas Song" with the Chipmunks.
Bagdasarian also appeared in minor film parts, including Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, in which he plays an obsessed piano-playing songwriter. He also had bit parts in The Deep Six (1957), The Devil's Hairpin (1957), The Proud and Profane(1956), Three Violent People (1956), Hot Blood (1956), Alaska Seas (1954), Destination Gobi (1953), Stalag 17 (1953), Viva Zapata! (1952), and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952).
He also provided the voice for the David Seville character in the Chipmunks' 1961 animated television series, The Alvin Show.
After Bagdasarian's death in 1972 from a heart attack at the age of only 52, his son, Ross Bagdasarian, Jr., continued to release Chipmunks recordings and has taken over the voices for the Chipmunk characters in subsequent iterations of the cartoon.