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Grover Sales ’50

A picture of Grover Sales

Grover Sales Jr. ’50, February 14, 2004, in Tiburon, California, following a short illness. During World War II, Grover served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in the China-Burma-India theatre. While enlisted, he made preparations to enter college without the benefit of a high school diploma, and was later accepted at Reed, where he studied for two years with a focus on humanities. His marriage to Enid Thompson ’44, with whom he had one child, ended in divorce. He graduated from UC Berkeley, Phi Beta Kappa, with a BA in history. Smitten by jazz music as a boy, Grover found his passion led him to a career focused on music, and enhanced by photography, teaching, and writing. He sold pianos and worked in motion picture advertising. His public relations agency specialized in the arts, and he handled a range of talents for 13 years, from the Monterey Jazz Festival to the Bolshoi Ballet, and from individual artists such as Duke Ellington to Woody Allen. From 1964 to 1967 he worked as theatre and film editor for the San Francisco Magazine. His work expanded to criticism of film, theatre, and jazz, as well as book reviews, for television, newspapers, and magazines, including the San Francisco Chronicle, the Los Angeles Times, the Saturday Review, and the Tiburon Ark. In the ’60s, Sales hosted a weekly "World of Duke Ellington" radio program, and was a guest on national and regional television and radio programs. He produced and supported the Chevron School Broadcasts, for which he won a Peabody Award; Third Stream Concerts, introducing little-known musicians in the Bay Area; and ragtime and jazz festivals. Beginning in 1970, he taught University of California extension classes on the history of jazz and American comedy, and lectured widely on jazz, film, theatre, and comedy. His lectures were presented at schools and libraries, including San Francisco State University, the Jazz School of Berkeley, and the Belevedere Tiburon library. He married architect Georgia MacLeod in 1971, and they published The Claypot Cookbook. His other published books include John Maher of Delancey Street, and Jazz: America’s Classical Music. Grover's play Mencken Lives! was performed at Stanford, where he was an instructor in jazz studies. Other plays include The Trial of Lenny Bruce: A First Amendment Comedy and The King of Schnorrers. He also taught at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Grover was active in his community, and his successful offensive against gas-powered leaf blowers received national attention. His liner notes for recordings included those for the film, Amadeus, for which he received a Grammy Award nomination. Grover was a "lucid, literate, and opinionated man," full of energy, and with a gift for language. Survivors include his wife, his daughter, two stepsons, two grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: August 2004

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