February 2, 2004 by

Harry Fleetwood

14 comments

Categories: Media

Harry Fleetwood, the late-night host of two classical music radio programs in New York City, died on Jan. 18. Cause of death was not released. He was 86.
Fleetwood majored in education at Temple University in Philadelphia, and earned a master’s degree in Romance languages from the University of Pennsylvania. During World War II, he served with the United States Army in Europe, then remained in France after the war ended to attend the Sorbonne in Paris.
Back in the states, Fleetwood became a radio announcer. His early shows in Philadelphia and Camden, Pa., featured poetry, folk songs and interviews with interesting people, including opera diva, Maria Callas. He also did voice-overs and commercials on French and Belgian television.
In 1953, the deep-voiced, New Jersey-native applied for a commentator position in New York City. Out of more than 1,500 applicants, he was hired to host WNBC’s “Music Through the Night” program, which aired weeknights from 12 a.m. to 5:30 a.m. Fleetwood stayed with the show for 22 years before switching to WNCN, where he hosted the evening classical music program until the late 1980s.

14 Responses to Harry Fleetwood

  1. Winifred Pichardo

    We wish to pay tribute to Mr. Harry Fleetwood, a dear close family friend for almost thirty years. Another chapter in Mr. Fleetwood’s life began when he became an “adopted” member of our family and spent many evenings with us over the years at dinners, as well as Passover seders at my parent’s home.
    My mother and Mr. Fleetwood shared many interests and mutual classical music radio hosts friends, and events throughout the years. This unique relationship brought a family oriented aspect to Mr. Fleetwood’s busy, well traveled and successful life.
    He will be missed – we honor his memory.
    Winifred Pichardo

  2. EDWARD V. MC CARTHY

    wHEN I WENT TO WORK AS A CUB REPORTER FOR WHAT WAS THEN UNITED PRESS IN THE EARLY 1950S (LATER UPI WHEN IT MERGED WITH INS) I WORKED UNTIL MIDNIGHT AND UPON RETURN HOME DISCOVERED “MUSIC THROUGH THE NIGHT” WITH THE “THEME “GREENSLEEVES” AND WOULD READ AND LISTEN TO THE STATION UNTIL I DROPPED OFF TO SLEEP IN MY BROOKLYN, NY, APARTMENT. THE PROGRAM ALWAYS BEGAN WITH THE TUNE AND A DEEP-THROATED, CALM, “VOICEOVER” ANNOUNCING “THIS IS FLEETWOOD…” I NEVER KNEW HIS FULL NAME UNTIL HE DIED. I TRIED RESEARCHING “GREENSLEVEEVES” BUT IT STRETCHES BACK ALMOST INTO INFINITY AND THE FICTICIOUS TIME OF KING ARTHUR OF ENGLAND AND, APPARENTLY, WAS THE EARLIEST (NON-RELIGIOUS) MELODY EVER TO MAKE IT’S WAY INTO THE PUBLIC REALM. MANY, MANY WORDS HAVE BEEN SET TO THE MUSIC — BUT ONLY THE MUSIC ITSELF SURVIVES. TO THIS DAY I LISTEN, NOSTALGICALLY, TO THE BEST RECORDING OF IT EVER, AND THE ONE USED BY FLEETWOOD, BY MONTOVANI.
    EVM

  3. christopher Somme'

    I’d like to say that Harry Fleetwood was just the greatest friend that I ever had. I first met him in Paris in 1994 when I there as an exchange student from Loyola University in New Orleans. We quickly became friends – he was amazed at how well I had picked up French in only 6 months! Anyway, he persuaded me to transfer to NYU to experience New York City….during my years at NYU, Harry and I spent so much time together…we’d go to B’Way shows together, dinner and just chat about life and people…he was an amazing man! Many times, his friend Jerry Kaufman would join us, at shows in the city or weekends at his house in East Hampton. The most memorable event was when he invited me to the 85th Birthday party for the great “Hildegarde” at the Russian Tea Room….the photos of together with Hildegarde will be treasured forever. My time spent with Harry is very dear to me and I will never forget his friendship. He was truly a class act and a man that went above and beyond to make fellow men and women feel at ease..he was culure with a capital “C”. Farewell Fleetwood, and thanks for 10 years of fantastic memories and many fun times in the Big Apple!
    Christopher Somme’

  4. Gunter Schymkiw

    I only know of Mr Fleetwood through recordings of a poetry program called ‘Anthology’ broadcast in 1953 and 1954 on local New York radio. His voice, insight and his humanity deeply impressed and moved me in the limited exposure I have had to his work.

  5. Kate Haakonsen

    My mother met Fleetwood in Paris where they were both working after WWII. Their friendship continued until his death, and he became an honorary family member. He spent more holidays with us than most of our other relatives and I can remember Dad taking him after big family dinners to catch a train so he could get back to NYC in time for his radio program which I seldom heard until he switched to WNCN because he was on “through the night.” He was the only man I knew who was taller than my father, 6″7″.
    I also have fond memories of his home in Fire Island Pines. I had not seen him for many years so I was already missing him and will continue to do so. He was quite a wonderful dutch uncle.

  6. A Medin

    Like many others who never met him, yet, loved to listen to him at WNCN, I too loved the personality
    he portrayed. Even at this hour after his death, I would love to see his picture from a magazine or whatever. I can only imagine Godly melodies from celestial trompets rejoycing his arrival in heaven, while we mourned his departure.

  7. Tom Mulak

    A bittersweet memory: during the prolonged fight to keep WNCN’s classical music format, Fleetwood would, every night, play the William Cornysh song “Blow thy horn, hunter” with the lyric “There is a doe in yonder wood, in faith she will not die” a reference to the hope that WNCN would not die. Alas, the station did eventually die, morphing into another rock station, but in the hours before the format changed, I remember Fleetwood playing Gregorian chants as a way to generate peace in the hearts of the WNCN faithful.
    Harry Fleetwood, champion of classical music, may you rest in peace!

  8. Philippe Autissier

    J’ai connu Harry à la Cité Universitaire de Paris en 1946. Il venait nous voir en France presque tous les ans et je n’oublie pas son dernier voyage à Auxerre qui était un adieu émouvant car sa santé était fragile.
    Il avait tenu à assister au mariage de notre fille Carolle en 1991 ce qui nous avait beaucoup touchés.
    Nos amis Américains connus après la libération de la France ont toujours été fidèles.
    Merci

  9. John D'Angelo

    I was lucky enough to be a co-worker of Harry fleetwood when I was an Associate director at NBC and Harry was a staff announcer. We did very many late night shifts together with Harry in the booth. Harry was a top notch professional who always performed perfectly. He once had the crew in stitches while he read copy with his arms flailing all around and his voice never wavered! We were sorry to see him go to WNCN and I had a large ET (record) sprayed gold which we gave to him as a keepsake. I listened to him on WNCN faithfully, and one night the turntable malfunctioned, it started slowing down and speeding up. Harry lifted the needle and in that great voice calmly said “All I can say is WOW!”
    Harry was a class act and he will be missed, I just came across this blog, so my response is late. I am now retired, but I will always remember Harry, it was a joy knowing him.

  10. Scott

    I was just a young twenty year old when I came across the greatest radio station I had ever heard; WNCN. I remember staying up late at night and far into the morning listening to Fleetwood’s Into The Night through my new stereo system. At that time, I would were my Koss headphones into bed with me a try and stay awake. It was a magical experience listening to Fleetwood. It was the start of my love affair with music and audio that has lasted for over 50 years now. I know it sounds crazy, but is there anyone out there who knows if there is a radio achive of the shows produced at WNCN from that time? If so, you can e mail me at ExplorationProj@aol.com.

  11. Angel Medina

    Here, longing to hear Harry Fleetwood’s voice again, after nearly 15 years of his passing away, what a guy he was!!
    So much fun and enjoyment received from a soul I never had the privilege of meeting.

    Wish I had a way to access any recording with his voice, wit, and whatever.

    :-(

  12. Cary Sklaren

    I first met Harry in the early 1970′s at a musical evening at a friend’s apartment, but I looked up this blog because my daughter, now in her 30′s, just told me she was found to be allergic to milk. Robyn, a brillant, beautiful woman, was born in the late 1970′s and was a very collicky baby. She rarely stopped crying and, inevitably, I would take the middle of the night feeding (we gave her milk-based Enfamil) and turned on Harry’s program. When Robyn was about a month old, I saw Harry at a get together and told him of my plight with Robyn. For the next several weeks, he would talk to Robyn on the air, and tell her to “mind your daddy,” or “stop crying Robyn and listen to”–he’d name a piece of music. I actually believe I have a photo somewhere of Harry holding, or at least standing next to Robyn. I used to tell Robyn that for a while, she had become a character on a late night radio program. Harry was a delightful and highly intelligent man, whom I miss. (Her pediatrician switched Robyn to soy-based Prosobe and the collick problem was eliminated, only to return decades later).

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