Alfred Newman


Composer

About

Also Known As
Pappy
Birth Place
New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Born
March 17, 1901
Died
February 17, 1970

Biography

One of Classic Hollywood's leading score composers and orchestra conductors, Alfred Newman was meticulous, professional and passionate about music. (A knack for film music ran in the Newman family: Alfred's brother Lionel and nephew Randy were also renowned composers.) Whether Alfred was scoring music for Broadway plays, epic dramas or light-hearted comedies, he delivered the best in the...

Family & Companions

Martha Montgomery Newman
Wife

Notes

Newman was nominated for 45 Academy Awards and won nine.

One of six motion picture composers honored with a postage stamp in 1999.

Biography

One of Classic Hollywood's leading score composers and orchestra conductors, Alfred Newman was meticulous, professional and passionate about music. (A knack for film music ran in the Newman family: Alfred's brother Lionel and nephew Randy were also renowned composers.) Whether Alfred was scoring music for Broadway plays, epic dramas or light-hearted comedies, he delivered the best in the business. Astonishingly, he was nominated for an Oscar for a record-setting twenty consecutive years, including quite a few wins.

Born in 1901 to a poor family in New Haven, CT, Alfred Newman's early musical abilities were such that his mother insisted on paying for his piano lessons even when getting food on the table was difficult. As a result, Newman was able to help support his family at the age of thirteen by working as a piano soloist at the famed Strand Theater in New York City. By seventeen, he was conducting for musical theater and soon came to the attention of the iconic songwriter Irving Berlin, who invited him to Hollywood to work on his film ?Reaching for the Moon? (1930). Newman went on to work with Charlie Chaplin as conductor for the classic ?Modern Times? (1936) as well being musical director for both John Ford's ?How Green is My Valley? (1941) and Walter Lang's ?Tin Pan Alley? (1941).

In Hollywood's golden era, Newman worked on over a dozen films each year, garnering Oscar nominations the way a collector might gather up new art. When he began his career, sound pictures were a relatively new art form and writing music for film was still being invented. As the industry matured, so too did Al, as his friends called him. But it was while conducting music that he truly came into his own, for Alfred Newman always commented that writing music was too solitary a profession for an outgoing personality like his. He compared composing to ?sitting in a room wearing out pencils.? But put him in front of an orchestra such as the stellar one he collected for his work with Twentieth Century Fox and he shone like a star.

From 1938 until 1957, Newman worked on over 250 films and was nominated every year for at least one Oscar. That twenty years of unbroken nominations includes six wins and an amazing 29 nominations. In the 1960s, he turned his talents to television and worked as composer for the anthology drama series ?Hong Kong? (ABC 1960-61), as well as conducting the orchestra for the 35th Annual Academy Awards in 1963. His role as music supervisor and conductor for the 1962 remake of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical ?State Fair? made him the only composer to work on two versions of the same musical film: he had been nominated for an Oscar for his work on the original 1945 version. Although his work load slowed somewhat in the 1960s, Newman continued composing and conducting. He was nominated for his final Oscar for his work on the pioneering disaster movie ?Airport? (1970), which was released the same year that he died at the age of 68.

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Big Show (1957)
They Shall Have Music (1939)
Musical director

Music (Feature Film)

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Song
Fanboys (2009)
Song Performer
Fanboys (2009)
Song
The Edge of Love (2008)
Song
V for Vendetta (2006)
Music
In Her Shoes (2005)
Song
In America (2003)
Composer
Inventing the Abbotts (1997)
Song
Picture Perfect (1997)
Song ("Anastasia")
Hollywood Sound (1995)
Music Composer
The Neon Bible (1995)
Song Composer ("David O Selznick Insignia Tune")
The Long Day Closes (1992)
Music Composer
Players (1979)
Music
The Mark of Zorro (1974)
Song
Airport (1970)
Music comp & Conductor
Firecreek (1968)
Music comp & Conductor
Camelot (1967)
Music Supervisor & Conductor
Nevada Smith (1966)
Music
The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965)
Music comp & Conductor
How the West Was Won (1963)
Composer
How the West Was Won (1963)
Music
The Counterfeit Traitor (1962)
Music Composition
The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962)
"Young mr. lincoln" theme
State Fair (1962)
Music Supervisor & Conductor
The Pleasure of His Company (1961)
Composer
The Pleasure of His Company (1961)
Music scored & Conductor
Flower Drum Song (1961)
Music Supervisor & Conductor
The Best of Everything (1959)
Composer
The Best of Everything (1959)
Music
The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)
Music
Holiday for Lovers (1959)
Supervisor and Conductor
A Certain Smile (1958)
Music
South Pacific (1958)
Music Supervisor and Conductor
April Love (1957)
Music Adapted
The King and I (1956)
Music Supervisor and Conductor
Anastasia (1956)
Music Director
Carousel (1956)
Music Supervisor and Conductor
Bus Stop (1956)
Music
Bus Stop (1956)
Conductor
A Man Called Peter (1955)
Music
Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955)
Music
Daddy Long Legs (1955)
Music Supervisor and Conductor
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Music
Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)
Composer
The Egyptian (1954)
Composer
Hell and High Water (1954)
Music
There's No Business Like Show Business (1954)
Music Supervisor and Conductor
The Egyptian (1954)
Music
The Robe (1953)
Composer
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Composer
The President's Lady (1953)
Music
The Desert Rats (1953)
Music Director
Tonight We Sing (1953)
Music Director
Treasure of the Golden Condor (1953)
Music Director
Call Me Madam (1953)
Music Director
How to Marry a Millionaire (1953)
Music Director
Destination Gobi (1953)
Music Director
The Robe (1953)
Music
5 Fingers (1952)
Composer
With a Song in My Heart (1952)
Composer
Night Without Sleep (1952)
Composer
Stars and Stripes Forever (1952)
Composer
The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952)
Composer
Pony Soldier (1952)
Music Director
Way of a Gaucho (1952)
Music Director
With a Song in My Heart (1952)
Music Director
The Prisoner of Zenda (1952)
Music
O. Henry's Full House (1952)
Music
Stars and Stripes Forever (1952)
Music Director
What Price Glory (1952)
Music
Kangaroo (1952)
Music Director
Les Miserables (1952)
Music Director
Viva Zapata! (1952)
Music Director
Wait Till the Sun Shines, Nellie (1952)
Music
As Young As You Feel (1951)
Composer
Half Angel (1951)
Composer
David and Bathsheba (1951)
Composer
Half Angel (1951)
Music Director
On the Riviera (1951)
Music Director
The House on Telegraph Hill (1951)
Music Director
David and Bathsheba (1951)
Music
Fourteen Hours (1951)
Music
People Will Talk (1951)
Conductor
Take Care of My Little Girl (1951)
Music
Call Me Mister (1951)
Music Director
Dancing in the Dark (1950)
Composer
Under My Skin (1950)
Composer
For Heaven's Sake (1950)
Music
The Gunfighter (1950)
Music
Two Flags West (1950)
Music Director
My Blue Heaven (1950)
Music Director
Where the Sidewalk Ends (1950)
Music
All About Eve (1950)
Music
No Way Out (1950)
Music
When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950)
Music
The Big Lift (1950)
Music
Dancing in the Dark (1950)
Music Director
Panic in the Streets (1950)
Music
Broken Arrow (1950)
Music Director
Prince of Foxes (1949)
Composer
Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)
Composer
Come to the Stable (1949)
Composer
Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949)
Music
Oh, You Beautiful Doll (1949)
Music Director
Down to the Sea in Ships (1949)
Music
Chicken Every Sunday (1949)
Music
Pinky (1949)
Music
A Letter to Three Wives (1949)
Music
Thieves' Highway (1949)
Music
Mother Is a Freshman (1949)
Music
Whirlpool (1949)
Music Director
Twelve O'Clock High (1949)
Music
You're My Everything (1949)
Music Director
Prince of Foxes (1949)
Music
Everybody Does It (1949)
Music Director
Call Northside 777 (1948)
Composer
The Iron Curtain (1948)
Conductor
Call Northside 777 (1948)
Music
Unfaithfully Yours (1948)
Music Director
The Snake Pit (1948)
Music
Fury at Furnace Creek (1948)
Music Director
Cry of the City (1948)
Music
Yellow Sky (1948)
Music
Captain from Castile (1948)
Music
The Street with No Name (1948)
Music Score
Gentleman's Agreement (1948)
Music
That Lady in Ermine (1948)
Music Director and incidental Musicic
Sitting Pretty (1948)
Music
The Walls of Jericho (1948)
Music
When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948)
Music Director
Daisy Kenyon (1947)
Music Director
The Shocking Miss Pilgrim (1947)
Music Director
The Homestretch (1947)
Music Director
Mother Wore Tights (1947)
Music Director
Boomerang! (1947)
Music Director
Forever Amber (1947)
Conductor
13 Rue Madeleine (1947)
Music Director
Moss Rose (1947)
Music Director
The Brasher Doubloon (1947)
Music Director
The Foxes of Harrow (1947)
Music Director
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Music Director
I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now? (1947)
Music Director
The Late George Apley (1947)
Music Director
Three Little Girls in Blue (1946)
Music Director
Dragonwyck (1946)
Music
Centennial Summer (1946)
Music Director
Leave Her to Heaven (1946)
Music
The Razor's Edge (1946)
Music
Margie (1946)
Music Director
My Darling Clementine (1946)
Music Director
The Fighting Lady (1945)
Music Director
A Royal Scandal (1945)
Music
Wilson (1945)
Music
The Fighting Lady (1945)
Music
The Dolly Sisters (1945)
Music Director
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1945)
Music
Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe (1945)
Music Director
The Song of Bernadette (1945)
Music
The Keys of the Kingdom (1945)
Music
State Fair (1945)
Music Director
A Bell for Adano (1945)
Music
The Purple Heart (1944)
Music
Sunday Dinner for a Soldier (1944)
Music
Irish Eyes Are Smiling (1944)
Music Director
The Sullivans (1944)
Music Director
Claudia (1943)
Composer
Prelude to War (1943)
Music Director
Prelude to War (1943)
Original Music comp
China Girl (1943)
Music Director
The Nazis Strike (1943)
Original Music compositions by
Immortal Sergeant (1943)
Music Director
Sweet Rosie O'Grady (1943)
Music Director
Heaven Can Wait (1943)
Music
My Friend Flicka (1943)
Music
The Moon Is Down (1943)
Music
The Gang's All Here (1943)
Music Director
Coney Island (1943)
Music Director
Claudia (1943)
Music
December 7th (1943)
Music
Son of Fury (1942)
Composer
Moontide (1942)
Composer
Remember the Day (1942)
Music
The Pied Piper (1942)
Music
Roxie Hart (1942)
Music Director
Life Begins at Eight-Thirty (1942)
Music
Girl Trouble (1942)
Music Director
Ball of Fire (1942)
Music
The Black Swan (1942)
Music
This Above All (1942)
Music
Son of Fury (1942)
Music
Springtime in the Rockies (1942)
Music Director
Ten Gentlemen from West Point (1942)
Music
My Gal Sal (1942)
Music Director
To the Shores of Tripoli (1942)
Music
Song of the Islands (1942)
Music Director
Orchestra Wives (1942)
Music Director
Moon Over Her Shoulder (1941)
Composer
I Wake Up Screaming (1941)
Composer
Dance Hall (1941)
Composer
Belle Starr (1941)
Music
Charley's Aunt (1941)
Music
Moon Over Miami (1941)
Music Director
A Yank in the R.A.F. (1941)
Music Director
Wild Geese Calling (1941)
Music
The Great American Broadcast (1941)
Music Director
Man Hunt (1941)
Music
That Night in Rio (1941)
Music Director
Hudson's Bay (1941)
Music
Week-End in Havana (1941)
Music Director
How Green Was My Valley (1941)
Music
Blood and Sand (1941)
Music
Lillian Russell (1940)
Composer
Little Old New York (1940)
Music Director
The Grapes of Wrath (1940)
Music Director
Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)
Music Director
Lillian Russell (1940)
Music Director
Elsa Maxwell's Public Deb No. 1 (1940)
Music Director
The Blue Bird (1940)
Music
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Music
Earthbound (1940)
Music
Vigil in the Night (1940)
Music
They Knew What They Wanted (1940)
Music Score
The Mark of Zorro (1940)
Music
Young People (1940)
Music Director
Maryland (1940)
Music Director
Brigham Young--Frontiersman (1940)
Music
Tin Pan Alley (1940)
Music Director
The Rains Came (1939)
Music Director
The Star Maker (1939)
Music Director
The Real Glory (1939)
Music
They Shall Have Music (1939)
Music Director
Gunga Din (1939)
Music
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939)
Music
Drums Along the Mohawk (1939)
Music
Beau Geste (1939)
Music Score
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1939)
Music Adapted and composer
Wuthering Heights (1939)
Music
The Cowboy and the Lady (1938)
Music Director
Alexander's Ragtime Band (1938)
Music Director
The Adventures of Marco Polo (1938)
Music Director
Trade Winds (1938)
Music Director
The Goldwyn Follies (1938)
Music Director
Slave Ship (1937)
Composer
The Hurricane (1937)
Composer
When You're in Love (1937)
Music Director
The Prisoner of Zenda (1937)
Music Score
Dead End (1937)
Music Director
52nd Street (1937)
Music Director
Stella Dallas (1937)
Music Director
You Only Live Once (1937)
Music Director
History Is Made at Night (1937)
Music Director
Slave Ship (1937)
Music Score
Woman Chases Man (1937)
Music Director
Wee Willie Winkie (1937)
Music Score
The Hurricane (1937)
Music Director
Strike Me Pink (1936)
Music Director
Born to Dance (1936)
Music Director
The Gay Desperado (1936)
Music Director
Come and Get It (1936)
Music Director
Dodsworth (1936)
Music Director
One Rainy Afternoon (1936)
Music Director
Modern Times (1936)
Music Conductor
Ramona (1936)
Music Score
These Three (1936)
Music Director
Beloved Enemy (1936)
Music Director
Dancing Pirate (1936)
Music Director
Clive of India (1935)
Music Score
Splendor (1935)
Music Director
The Dark Angel (1935)
Music Director
The Call of the Wild (1935)
Music Director
L'homme des Folies Bergère (1935)
Chef d'orchestre [Music Director]
Broadway Melody of 1936 (1935)
Music Director
The Melody Lingers On (1935)
Music Director
Cardinal Richelieu (1935)
Music Director
Folies Bergère de Paris (1935)
Music Director
Les Misérables (1935)
Music Director
Barbary Coast (1935)
Music Director
The Wedding Night (1935)
Music Director
Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round (1934)
Music Director
Kid Millions (1934)
Music Director
The Affairs of Cellini (1934)
Music Score
The Mighty Barnum (1934)
Music Score
Looking for Trouble (1934)
Music Director
Born to Be Bad (1934)
Music Director
Gallant Lady (1934)
Music Director
We Live Again (1934)
Music Director
The House of Rothschild (1934)
Music Score
Moulin Rouge (1934)
Music Director
Nana (1934)
Music Score
The Last Gentleman (1934)
Music Score
The Cat's-Paw (1934)
Music Director
The Count of Monte Cristo (1934)
Music Director
Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1934)
Music Score
Blood Money (1933)
Music Director
Secrets (1933)
Music Score
The Bowery (1933)
Music Director
Broadway Thru a Keyhole (1933)
Music Director
Advice to the Lovelorn (1933)
Music Director
Hallelujah I'm a Bum (1933)
Music Director
Roman Scandals (1933)
Music Score
Cock of the Air (1932)
Composer
Cock of the Air (1932)
Music Score
Sky Devils (1932)
Music Director
Cynara (1932)
Music Director
Rain (1932)
Music Score
The Greeks Had a Word for Them (1932)
Music Score
Night World (1932)
Music Score
The Kid from Spain (1932)
Music Director
Mr. Robinson Crusoe (1932)
Music score comp by
Palmy Days (1931)
Composer
Kiki (1931)
Music Director
City Lights (1931)
Music Director
Indiscreet (1931)
Music Director
Tonight or Never (1931)
Music Director
Reaching for the Moon (1931)
Music Director
Arrowsmith (1931)
Music Score
Corsair (1931)
Music score and Director
Street Scene (1931)
Music Director
Palmy Days (1931)
Music Director
Whoopee! (1930)
Music Director

Music (Special)

20th Century Fox: The Blockbuster Years (2000)
Music
Music For the Movies: The Hollywood Sound (1995)
Music

Music (Short)

Know Your Ally: Britain (1943)
Music Composition

Life Events

1918

Conducted his first orchestra at the age of 17

1930

Invited to Hollywood by United Artists head at urging of Irving Berlin

1931

Signed with United Artists

1938

Signed with 20th Century Fox

1940

Became General Music Director for 20th Century Fox

1940

Received four Oscar nominations in one year for four different films

1957

Was nominated for an Oscar every year for the last 20 years

Videos

Trailer

Diary of Anne Frank, The (1959) -- (Original Trailer) Theatrical trailer for producer-director George Stevens’ adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hacket, based on the original diary, The Diary Of Anne Frank, 1959, starring Millie Perkins.
Letter to Three Wives, A - (Original Trailer) In A Letter to Three Wives (1949), a woman claims to have run off with one of their husbands. But which?
Snows of Kilimanjaro, The - (Original Trailer) Gregory Peck, Ava Gardner and Susan Hayward star in the Henry King's adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's story The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952).
South Pacific - (Re-issue Trailer) Joshua Logan's movie version of Rodgers & Hammerstein's Broadway musical South Pacific (1958) stars Mitzi Gaynor and Rossano Brazzi.
Gunfighter, The - (Re-issue Trailer) The fastest gun in the West (Gregory Peck) tries to escape his reputation in The Gunfighter (1950).
Man Called Peter, A - (Textless Trailer) A Scottish boy follows his faith to a bright career preaching in Washington, DC in A Man Called Peter (1955).
Grapes of Wrath, The - (Original Trailer) Henry Fonda stars in John Ford's movie version of the John Steinbeck novel about Depression-era migrants, The Grapes of Wrath (1940).
Fourteen Hours - (Original Trailer) Richard Basehart threatens to jump off the ledge of his fourteenth floor hotel room in Fourteen Hours (1951).
Foreign Correspondent - (Original Trailer) A camera with gun attachment, trick windmills and a mid-ocean plane crash are some of the predicaments facing Alfred Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent (1940).
Bus Stop - (Original Trailer) An innocent cowboy kidnaps a small-time singer (Marilyn Monroe) with whom he's infatuated in Joshua Logan's Bus Stop (1956).
With A Song In My Heart - (Original Trailer) Singer Jane Froman (Susan Hayward) comes back after a plane crash in the biopic With A Song In My Heart (1952).
Firecreek - (Original Trailer) A pacifist sheriff (James Stewart) must use tougher means when his town is threatened by a band of outlaws in Firecreek (1968) co-starring Henry Fonda.

Family

Robert Newman
Brother
Press agent, producer, executive. Born 1903; died 1982.
Marc Newman
Brother
Agent. Born 1908; died 1980.
Emil Newman
Brother
Composer, conductor. Born 1910; died 1984.
Irving Newman
Brother
Internist.
Lionel Newman
Brother
Composer. Born 1916; died 1989.
Randy Newman
Nephew
Composer, conductor. Born November 28, 1943; son of Irving Newman.
David Newman
Son
Composer. Survived him; born 1954.
Thomas Newman
Son
Composer. Survived him; born 1955.
Maria Newman
Daughter
Composer. Survived him; born c. 1962.

Companions

Martha Montgomery Newman
Wife

Bibliography

Notes

Newman was nominated for 45 Academy Awards and won nine.

One of six motion picture composers honored with a postage stamp in 1999.