Tuesday, October 30, 2012


This Friday marks the seventh year of Rick’s passing. I didn’t get to say the things I would like to have said at his memorial service. In fact, I couldn’t say anything at all. Now that time has passed and I have a blog, I’d like to use it as a forum to pay tribute in a way I was unable to at that time.
            Rick was more than my husband. He was my partner, my soul mate, my cheerleader, and my best friend.  Those who had the good fortune of knowing him will attest to the fact that although he could, at times, drive you crazy, you had to love him and his ‘eccentricities’ (he was so efficient and organized he was sometimes referred to as Mr. Quick-Quick and trash cans were emptied before they were half filled). And he had a nick-name for everyone.
            He was said to have been a musical prodigy at a young age, his first instrument being the trumpet. (Later, he taught himself to play piano by listening to his sister, Robyn, practice her lessons).  In his musical career, he traveled the country with a band called Wonder and was a magnet for investors who believed enough in his talent to back him when he performed in concerts and put out his own recordings. He played various clubs in the Los Angeles area, performed at weddings, and was, with The Rick Rhodes
Band, the house band at Mountaingate Country Club here in L.A.
            I introduced him to the world of soaps when I was writing for As The World Turns; he turned to the TV one day and asked who wrote the music for ‘this junk”.  He worked his way onto the staff of the show, Santa Barbara (sitting in for no pay at the beginning as he learned what was to be expected of him).  He composed music for other television shows as well (including the theme for Guiding Light) Throughout the years, Rick earned 6 Emmy awards and was nominated 24 times. He was also a pioneer in the ‘music library’ business.  Not long ago, ASCAP informed me that Rick was so prolific he had well over a thousand pieces of music registered with them.
            It was Rick who mentored me when I  first wrote lyrics (I still recall his crumpling my first efforts and telling me it was ‘a good start’) and eventually two songs we co-wrote were nominated for Emmy awards. I think some of his best music was that written for a musical we worked on together called UG – A CAVEMAN MUSICAL.
            Rick was more than merely talented; he was very entrepreneurial and had the knack of getting those inclined to say no to say yes.  He was fiercely loyal and trustworthy; he had integrity and would be hurt and dismayed when he found these qualities lacking in others.  His generosity extended not only to me and to his children but to friends and strangers as well. He gave financial and emotional support to many who needed it. One of his proudest contributions was being on the ground floor of the creation of C.L.U.’s Kingsmen Shakespeare Festival, something that is now entering its twelfth year.  He also took great pride in starting Oak Park High School’s drama department, which flourished under his leadership. After his passing, I received numerous letters, some from people I’d never met. They’d begin “You don’t know me but your husband was responsible for giving me my first break in my career”.
            Rick was not perfect.  Who among us are?  But he left an indelible mark on those he met. He cherished his kids and played a huge part in their lives. So much so that I think perhaps my children will have more vivid memories of their father than those whose fathers may have been physically in their lives, but emotionally absent.
            I still find it difficult to listen to his music, but one day I hope that I’ll be able to do so. In the meantime, he remains with me in the anecdotes I still hear told by friends, in the humor and expressions I hear echoed by my daughter, Allie, and in the voice I hear when my son Adam sings, The Wanderer.
            In fact, Rick’s legacy lives on not only in his music, but  in his children as well. He will live in my heart always.


  1. Thanks for writing this, I miss him too.
    Love bongo

  2. A beautiful tribute - I can hear him greeting Steve and myself the cool way he always did, and he still brings happiness to my teary eyes when I think about all our good times together, so long ago. Hugs to you, Love, Laurie

  3. Very very beautiful Vivian. I do not doubt in any way Rick's impact on my career, and that I wouldn't be where I am today without his inspiration. And my fond memories of his nick name for me - "Lissa". Hope to see you around soon!

    Love always,
    Melissa Staab

  4. Wonderful, Vivian. I wish I had known him.

  5. It really does sound like you had a wonderful relationship. I wish that I had known him and gotten to know your family as well :)