Friedhofer, Hugo (William)

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Friedhofer, Hugo (William)

Friedhofer, Hugo (William), American composer of film music; b. San Francisco, May 3, 1901; d. Los Angeles, May 17, 1981. He studied composition with Domenico Brescia. In 1929 he went to Hollywood, where he worked as an arranger and composer for early sound films. In 1935 he was engaged as an orchestrator for Warner Brothers, and received valuable instruction from Korngold and Steiner. In Los Angeles he attended Schoenberg’s seminars and took additional lessons in composition with Toch and Kanitz; he also had some instruction with Boulanger during her sojourn in Calif. He wrote his first complete film score for The Adventures of Marco Polo in 1938, and in the following years composed music for about 70 films. His film music for The Best Years of Our Lives won the Academy Award in 1946. His other distinguished film scores included Broken Arrow (1950), Vera Cruz (1954), The Rains of Ranchipur (1955), The Sun Also Rises (1957), and The Young Lions (1958). Friedhofer was highly esteemed for his ability to create a congenial musical background, alternatively lyrical and dramatic, for the action on the screen, never sacrificing the purely musical quality for the sake of external effect.


I. Atkins, H. F. (Los Angeles, 1974).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire