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Hugh Martin, writer of 'Merry Little Christmas' dies at 96

LOS ANGELES — Hugh Martin, the composer-songwriter whose works included "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and "The Trolley Song," died Friday. He was 96.

He died from natural causes at his home in Encinitas, Calif., said Martin's niece Suzanne Hanners.

Martin and songwriting partner Ralph Blane co-wrote such catchy tunes as "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas," "The Trolley Song" and "The Boy Next Door" from the musical "Meet Me in St. Louis."

Martin, who hailed from Birmingham, Ala., also crafted songs for several other film and Broadway musicals, including "Best Foot Forward," "Make a Wish," "High Spirits" and "Hooray for What!"

He was nominated for best original song Academy Awards for "The Trolley Song" in 1944 and "Pass the Peace Pipe" from "Good News" ain 1947. He wrote about his exploits in show business in his 2010 autobiography, "Hugh Martin: The Boy Next Door."

Martin is survived by his brother Gordon Martin; nephews Gordon Martin Jr. and Hugh Martin III; and nieces Hanners and Lua Martin Wells.