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Barry Manilow's Keyboardist Dies

LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Alan Jay Axelrod, a keyboardist for Barry Manilow and the Musical Director for the improv comedy group The Groundlings and Theatersports has died due to complications with diabetes.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Axelrod, a Pittsburgh native, graduated from Fordham with a law degree. While in law school, he joined the first national tour of "Jesus Christ Superstar" performing keyboards. Subsequently, Barry Manilow approached him about playing keyboards, leading Axelrod to ditch his legal career for a life on the road during Manilow's rise to national prominence over the next five years.

Axelrod moved to Los Angeles 9n 1978 where he took a position with three national tours of "I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road." He served in the same capacity with the comedy troupe The Groundlings, which featured Julia Sweeney and John Lovitz among others.

Axelrod's musical career was brought to an untimely end after he suffered a severe brain injury during a car accident while traveling to a New Mexico gig, which left him unable to perform.

He died on February 4th in Los Angeles due to complications with diabetes. He is survived by a brother, sister and a plethora of nieces and nephews. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers