Andre Previn dies at 89: Tributes to composer and conductor who starred in Morecambe and Wise sketch

Emily Mee, news reporter

Mia Farrow and Stephen Fry have led tributes to Oscar-winning composer Andre Previn after he died aged 89.

The German-born conductor - whose career spanned Hollywood, jazz and classical music - died on Thursday at home in New York, his manager confirmed.

As a composer, Previn worked on films such as Gigi, Porgy And Bess, My Fair Lady and Irma la Douce - and he won best music Oscars for all four.

He later left Hollywood to conduct orchestras and was principal conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra from 1968 to 1979.

But for many, Previn is probably best-known for trying to help Eric Morecambe as the British star attempted to perform Grieg's Piano Concerto during a sketch.

His appearance on the 1971 Morecambe and Wise Christmas special remains among the most popular moments in British TV comedy history.

Previn's ex-wife, actress Mia Farrow, to whom he was married between 1970 to 1979, shared a picture on Twitter of them together.

She wrote: "See you in the Morning beloved Friend. May you rest in glorious symphonies."

Comedian and actor Fry referenced the Morecambe and Wise sketch and said: "Farewell, Andre Previn. He played all the right notes, and usually in the right order. What a life.

"All those Oscars, awards and achievements and yet most of my generation will always think of him as Andre Preview, conducting Eric Morecambe. He probably wouldn't mind ... "

Previn was a child prodigy whose family fled Nazi Germany before he found work as a composer and arranger for Hollywood productions, earning his first film credit as a music director in 1943.

As a composer, the musician was nominated for a total of 13 Academy Awards.

He later ditched a glittering Hollywood career to pursue his passion of being a classical conductor, going on to conduct the London Symphony Orchestra.

Previn became a household name, unusually for someone in his field of work, and was married five times.

He was named musical director of the Houston Symphony in 1967 and went on to lead the Los Angeles Philharmonic and London's Royal Philharmonic.

His opera based on A Streetcar Named Desire premiered at the San Francisco Opera in 1998.

Towards the end of his career, Previn explained why he had experimented with so many musical directions.

"It's been thrown up to me most of my life: 'Why don't I just concentrate on conducting or composing or my own playing or on jazz?'" he said.

"But the thing is that I'm naturally curious about a lot of different disciplines in music and I enjoy doing them.

"And as long as people are nice enough to let me, I'll keep on trying."

Gareth Davies - chairman of the London Symphony Orchestra - was among those paying tribute. He said: "Andre was one of a kind and a real friend to the LSO. We will all miss him."