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Subject: Les Crane, the voice of Desiderata has died

Written By: Philip Eno on 07/21/08 at 5:43 am

Obit on Daily Telegraph Online

Les Crane, who died on July 13 aged 74, became an unlikely one-hit wonder in the British and American pop charts with Desiderata (1971), his spoken-word version of an obscure prose poem that became a New Age anthem.

Les Crane was born Lesley Stein on December 3 1933 at Long Beach, New York. After graduating from Tulane University, New Orleans, he spent four years in the US Air Force in the 1950s as a jet pilot and helicopter flight instructor.

By the early 1960s Crane was working as a radio presenter in San Francisco, patenting a brand of rude brusqueness with phone-in callers that paved the way for the cult of the "shock jock".

In 1963 he transferred to television and the following year was given a tryout on the ABC network against the formidable Johnny Carson, who had just taken over the Tonight talk show on the rival NBC channel. Crane's show flopped and was pulled after only a few months.

After a few lacklustre years as a television actor, he switched to computers in 1980, becoming chairman of the Software Toolworks company.

In 1987, reflecting on his unexpected success with Desiderata, Crane confessed: "I can't listen to it now without gagging."

Subject: Re: Les Crane, the voice of Desiderata has died

Written By: Paul on 07/21/08 at 2:37 pm

Very sad...he had a wonderfully soothing voice, did Les...

However, he should have tackled the parody...much more inspirational!

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