LONDON (AP) _ Max Jaffa, the violinist and orchestra leader who entertained BBC audiences with light classical music for decades, died Tuesday at his home at age 79.

No cause of death was given.

Jaffa gained fame after World War II as leader of the Palm Court Orchestra in the long-running British Broadcasting Corp. program ''Grand Hotel.''

Born Dec. 28, 1911 in London, the son of a Russian immigrant, Jaffa trained at the Guildhall School of Music where he won many awards as well as the school's prized Gold Medal.

He made his public debut at 13 in a London silent cinema orchestra, and by the time he was 17 was leading hotel and restaurant orchestras in London.

Jaffa, cellist Reginald Kilbey and pianist Jack Byfield, all members of the BBC's London Studio Players, formed the Max Jaffa Trio - a partnership that endured 30 years and took them all over the world.

In 1956 Jaffa took over as leader of the Palm Court Orchestra on ''Grand Hotel'' and went on to host other radio programs.