Sep. 16, 1921 Saint Louis St. Louis County Missouri, USA
Oct. 2, 1998 Santa Rosa Sonoma County California, USA
Musician and a Mesmerist. Known for his Topaz jewel and hypnotic dangling Diamond, and his beautifully-inspirational music, and the fact that for all his years on radio and Television, he never spoke a word, gazing dreamily, instead, into the camera and into the hearts and imaginations of millions upon millions of viewers over the years. Korla Pandit was born John Roland Redd September 16, 1921 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Doshia O'Nina Johnson Redd (1885-1977) and Baptist Minister Rev. Ernest S. Redd (1883-1966). One of seven children, young John displayed incredible musical abilities by the age of two. In 1937 he graduated from high school, and moved to Omaha. In 1938 he moved to Ottumwa, Iowa, and worked for the Central Broadcasting Company in Des Moines. By 1939 he was living in Los Angeles, CA with his sister Frances, wearing what would become his trademark turban, playing in clubs under the name "Juan Rolando". He became known for playing both the organ and grand piano at the same time (the piano with his right hand and the organ with his left), and was first billed as "Juan Rolando, the One-Man Combo!" In 1941Juan Rolando (nee John Roland Redd,) yet to become Korla Pandit, met and developed a life-long love affair with statuesque blonde Beryl June DeBeeson, a Disney artist, whom he would marry on July 21,1944, in Tijuana, Mexico (mixed marriages were not yet allowed in California). They remained married until his death in 1998. Under Beryl's artistic direction, "Juan Rolando" became "Korla Pandit", and Korla Pandit in turn became the mysterious symbol for and creator of "Exotica", in 1948 conjuring up musically on radio (Korla Pandit was the organist for "Chandu, the Magician,) all manner of inventive, never-before-heard orchestration, first on the Nova Chord Organ, then on the Hammond B-3 Electronic Organ.) At the age of twenty-two, he was discovered by Television pioneer Klaus (KTLA) Landsberg, and in February of 1949 the handsome young man in a turban was captivating audiences as Korla Pandit with his own "Universal Language of Music" KTLA Television show, playing his "music of the Exotic East" with a blend of waltzes, tangos, cha-cha-cha's and other tunes of the '40's and 50's, as well as an occasional classic like "Claire de Lune" or "The Swan". During this time he also supplied the music for Bob Clampett's hit KTLA-TV puppet show "Time For Beany". Eventually Korla Pandit would be seen and heard around the world with his organ and piano music segments, by way of the fledgling Louis Snader Telescriptions filmed at Hollywood's Goldwyn Studios in August of 1951. It was on these filmed musical clips produced for Television that Korla Pandit preceded Liberace, eventually giving the glitzy pianist his big break when the young organist broke ties with Snader, who then hired Liberace to take Korla's place. By the mid-seventies Korla Pandit had for the most part disappeared from Television screens, but cashed in on his sizeable fan following by performing live in theater organ concerts, giving lecture-concert seminars and individual instruction, in-home organ concerts, and, eventually, playing at super market openings, automobile dealership promotional events, organ and piano trade shows, and popular Pipes & Pizza Parlours. Korla Pandit appeared in several motion pictures, most prominent among them Tim Burton's 1994 "Ed Wood" starring Johnny Depp (with whom Korla Pandit shares a scene). In what can only be described as a "comeback" near the end of his life, Korla Pandit performed in small clubs and restaurants, then, in January of 1996, with entrepreneur Joey (Seehee) Cheezhee, headlined "The Wonderful World Of Joey" lounge revival show at Bimbo's 365 in San Francisco, CA, followed by similar shows at retro nightspots such as Kelbo's, and the House of Blues jazz club, both in Southern California. Korla Pandit's final public performance was February 14, 1997, at The Luna Park Club in Los Angeles, CA. Korla Pandit passed away October 1, 1998, at the age of 76 in Petaluma, California. Korla Pandit has since been joined in death by his devoted wife Beryl June Pandit December 31, 2005, at age 85. She died in Sechelt, B.C. Canada, of natural causes (heart failure). The couple's elder Son Shari Pandit preceeded his Mother in death December 31, 2000 in Sechelt B.C. Canada of Hepatitis C, at age 52. Remains of Korla Pandit, Beryl Pandit, and Shari Pandit were cremated. Sole surviving Son is Khris Koram (John) Pandit of Santa Rosa, CA and Sechelt, BC Canada.
Burial: Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Maintained by: Find A Grave Record added: Nov 16, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 6980