Duchin's background is a remarkable mixture of show-business and high society. His mother, Marjorie Oelrichs, was the daughter of a socially prominent Newport and New York family and a celebrated style-setter in the 1920's and 1930's. Tragically, Marjorie died of complications in childbirth shortly after Peter was born in 1937.
Heartbroken, Eddy Duchin asked his good friends, Averell and Marie Harriman, to care for his son Peter. Peter was raised by the wealthy statesman and his wife while Eddy toured with his band. He later served with distinction as a Naval combat officer in World War II. The beautiful and tragic story of Peter's parents is wonderfully told in the 1956 movie, The Eddy Duchin Story, starring Tyrone Power and Kim Novak.
As a youngster, Peter began playing music with his father. Later, he played in bands at Eaglebrook and Hotchkiss schools in New England. He continued to develop his love for music at Yale, where he received his BA in music and French Literature. He also attended the Sorbonne in Paris where he studied composition with the widow of the distinguished French composer, Arthur Honegger.
During a two-year tour with the US Army in Panama, he played in the US Army Band and helped form a jazz orchestra that performed to great acclaim in Panama City, throughout Latin America and on The Ed Sullivan Show.
When Duchin returned to New York, he embarked on a highly successful studio career of over 26 recordings. In 1962 he opened with his band in The Maisonette, at the St. Regis Hotel, which quickly became the most successful supper club in town. In 1964 he took on the job as musical coordinator for President Lyndon Johnson's inauguration.
After this prestigious event, he and his band went on the road for their first national tour. On his return he organized Peter Duchin Orchestras and Duchin Entertainment, which has provided top quality music and entertainment ever since Peter recently released his first book, "Ghost Of A Chance: A Memoir" through Random House publishers which is now available in paperback.
Read some of the wonderful comments on this work...
"I was captivated by "Ghost Of A Chance" - it's a great read.
And I'm delighted Peter is sharing his terrific reminiscences. He's at the top
of his profession and has led a fascinating life. Peter is as good with words as
he is with the ivories. His father, Eddy; myself; and Jackie Gleason were great
pals. This book brings back memories of very special times."
"A wonderful life, but Peter did not have it all. His book will surprise
you. A must."
"Peter Duchin's glamorous story is about absent fathers, surrogate
mothers, and dwelling on the edges of money and power in a tuxedoed world."
"Off the scales! A lively memoir that amuses and instructs about a
society of privilege."
"Peter Duchin's "Ghost Of A Chance" is engaging and
entertaining, a jeroboam of vintage champagne that never loses its fizz."
March 18, 2014.
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