"Schoolhouse Rock" writer Bob Dorough dead at 94


That led to Schoolhouse Rock, a 1973-85 series of Saturday-morning shortform content on ABC that used music and rhyme to help kids learn basic facts, with such memorable songs as "Elementary, My Dear" (Multiplication Rock, 1973), "Conjunction Junction" (Grammar Rock, 1973), "I'm Just a Bill" (America Rock, 1975), "Electricity, Electricity" (Science Rock, 1978) and countless others.

Dorough died of natural causes at his home in Mount Bethel, Pennsylvania, according to The Associated Press.

Dorough served in the Special Services Army Band during World War II, and earned a degree in music from the University of North Texas before moving to NY to become a pianist and singer. Dorough wrote and performed iconic numbers including "My Hero, Zero" and "Three Is a Magic Number".

"Schoolhouse Rock" premiered on January 13, 1973, and ran on ABC from 1973-1985. An advertising executive got the idea when he saw how his son remembered song lyrics but not math. Dorough wrote "Three is a Magic Number" first and eventually wrote the entire Multiplication Rock collection.

Although Dorough began his career as a composer and jazz musician, his most well-known work came during his tenure as musical director of ABC's "Schoolhouse Rock!".

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The series ran for 12 years and was later revived in the 1990s.

"I am not surprised at all (that the videos still resonate)", Dorough told CNN in 2013.

Later in life, Dorough became a mentor to the British-American singer, actress and comedian Nellie McKay, whom he first met in 1997, McKay tells NPR.

A funeral is tentatively scheduled for Monday in Mount Bethel.