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Overview for Lionel Newman
Lionel Newman

Lionel Newman



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Also Known As: Died: February 3, 1989
Born: January 4, 1916 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: New Haven, Connecticut, USA Profession: Music ... composer music director conductor


Lionel Newman came from a musical dynasty that helped define the sound of cinema. Born in 1916, the youngest boy of ten children, he followed his brothers Alfred and Emil into the world of composing and conducting, going on to work on over 300 film and television soundtracks. His first real taste of show business was as a conductor for Earl Carroll at the age of 16 (it's also where he met his wife, Earl's niece Beverly Carroll). This led to playing live with movie icon Mae West's touring show during the 1930s. By 18 he already had his own band, Newman's Society Orchestra, playing on the luxury liner the SS Rotterdam.

Lionel's first movie credit was the score for "The Cowboy And The Lady" (1938); he received a Best Music, Original Song Academy Award nomination (shared with lyricist Arthur Quenzer) for the title song. It was an impressive start to his film career. 20th Century Fox hired Lionel as a pianist and songwriter and by was 1942 he was working as Musical Director on films such as "Give My Regards to Broadway" (1948), "Road House" (1948, which included the hit "Again" that was covered by Doris Day, Vera Lynne, Frank Sinatra and more), and "Rawhide" (1951). After meeting on set during the making of "Don't Bother to Knock" (1952), screen goddess Marilyn Monroe insisted on Newman as musical director on all her films, including "Niagara" (1953), "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" (1953), and "There's No Business Like Show Business" (1954).

Newman was one of the leading composers at Fox and in 1959 he was promoted to Music Director, in which capacity he wrote, recorded and oversaw the scores for numerous TV shows and films. During this era, supervised the music of the popular TV shows "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (CBS 1959-1963) and "Batman" (ABC 1966-68) and scored hit films including "Doctor Dolittle" (1967), and "Hello Dolly!" (1969), for which he won an Oscar). When his brother Alfred Newman died in 1970, Lionel took over as Senior Vice President of Music at Fox, working on films such as "The Omen" (1976), "Star Wars" (1977), "Alien" (1979), "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981) and many more. He left Fox in 1985, moving to MGM/Universal until his death in 1989 from cardiac arrest. In 2013 Fox renamed Building 222 on its Hollywood lot the Lionel Newman Music Building in his honor in a ceremony attended by Steven Spielberg, John Williams and Newman's nephew, singer/songwriter and film composer Randy Newman.

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