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Hugo Friedhofer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hugo Friedhofer
Hugo Wilhelm Friedhofer

(1901-05-03)May 3, 1901
DiedMay 17, 1981(1981-05-17) (aged 80)
Era20th century
One-Eyed Jacks - main title

Hugo Wilhelm Friedhofer (May 3, 1901 – May 17, 1981)[1] was an American composer and cellist best known for his motion picture scores.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • Hugo Friedhofer: White Feather (1955)
  • Hugo Friedhofer: music from Edge of Doom (1950)
  • this earth is mine (1959) OST joseph gershenson hugo friedhofer
  • Hugo Friedhofer - "Finale" from One Eyed Jacks.



Hugo Wilhelm Friedhofer was born in San Francisco, California, United States.[2] His father, Paul, was a cellist trained in Dresden, Germany; his mother, Eva König, was born in Germany.

Friedhofer began playing cello at the age of 13. After taking lessons in harmony and counterpoint at University of California, Berkeley,[citation needed] he was employed as a cellist for the People's Symphony Orchestra.[3]

In 1929, he relocated to Hollywood, where he performed as a musician for Fox Studios productions such as Sunny Side Up (1920) and Grand Canary (1934).[1] Later, he was hired as an orchestrator for Warner Bros. and worked on more than 50 films for the studio.[1] While at Warners he was largely assigned to work with Max Steiner and, because he could speak German, Erich Wolfgang Korngold.[2] Steiner, in particular, relied on Friedhofer's skill in turning his sketches into a full orchestral score.

In 1937, Friedhofer composed his first full-length film score, The Adventures of Marco Polo.[2] Though he was still employed as an orchestrator through the 1930s and into the 1940s, he gradually received more assignments as a composer. In 1942, he composed the score for the film Chetniks! The Fighting Guerrillas.[4]

In 1946, Friedhofer was hired to compose the score for the 1946 William Wyler directed film, The Best Years of Our Lives, which earned him an Oscar for Best Original Score at the 1947 Academy Awards,[2] beating Bernard Herrmann, Miklós Rózsa, William Walton and Franz Waxman.[5] A new recording of the score, released in 1979 by Entr'acte Recording Society, was favorably received at the time.[6]

Friedhofer was also nominated for eight other films, including The Woman in the Window,[7] The Bishop's Wife,[8] Joan of Arc,[9] Above and Beyond,[10] Between Heaven and Hell,[11] Boy on a Dolphin and An Affair to Remember (both nominated in 1958[12]), as well as The Young Lions.[13]

Friedhofer, who was greatly admired by his colleagues, was also noted for his caustic, self-deprecating wit. When asked by fellow composer David Raksin as to the progress he was making on his score for Joan of Arc, he replied, "I've just started on the barbecue!". When asked, in a 1975 profile/interview penned by lyricist Gene Lees, to evaluate his place in the pantheon of film musicians, Friedhofer quipped, "I am just a fake giant among real pygmies."[14][a]

A biographical collection of essays, letters and interviews has been edited by Linda Danly.[16]

He died at St. Vincent Hospital from complications of a fall on May 17, 1981.[2]

Film and television work

Friedhofer wrote music for 256 movies, shorts or television episodes without credit — as a music department composer of themes, additional music, stock music, incidental music or background music. He composed as a primary composer, both credited and uncredited, for 166 movies, shorts or television episodes.



See also


  1. ^ In the interests of giving credit where credit is due, Friedhofer—though unable to recall to whom in fact credit was due—made a point of promptly informing Lee that he did not coin the "fake giant ... real pygmies" quip.[14] To that question, the quote that appears to be Friedhofer's inspiration—literally, "a sham giant surrounded by real pygmies"—was attributed posthumously in December 1938 to the then-recently departed Arthur W. Ryder by Ryder's fellow UC Berkeley faculty member, poet Leonard Bacon, in Part II of the latter's 6-page remembrance of his Berkeley tenure, published in Harper's Magazine.[15]


  1. ^ a b c Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 920. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Film Composer Hugo Friedhofer Dies". The Los Angeles Times. May 18, 1981. p. 33. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  3. ^ "Saslavsky to Direct Notable Event". San Francisco Chronicle. November 19, 1922. p. 40. ProQuest 575134725. Under the direction of Alexander Saslavsky, the newly formed People's symphony orchestra will give next Thursday evening in Scottish Rite Hall the first of a series of twelve educational concerts. [...] The personnel of the orchestra are as follows: [...] Violincellos—A. Bach, Rebecca Haight, Hugo Friedhofer and P. Poenitz.
  4. ^ "'CHETNIKS' AROUSES CHEERS: Wurtzel Produces On Elaborate Scale". The Hollywood Reporter. January 11, 1943. p. 4. ProQuest 2298648006. Wurtzel's production has excellent technical contributions in thephotography by Glen MacWilliams, the meaningful art direction by Richard Day and Albert Hogsett, the military advice by Major Milivoj Mishovich, and the music by Hugo Friedhofer. The Chetnik Fighting Song' is an authentic touch that counts.
  5. ^ "ACADEMY ANNOUNCES LIST OF CANDIDATES FOR 1946 AWARDS: Several Foreign Pictures Named". The Hollywood Reporter. February 10, 1947. p. 4. ProQuest 2320464782. Best Scoring of a Dramatic or Comedy Picture. 'Anna and the King of Siam,' 20th Fox, Bernard Herrman. 'The Best Years of Our Lives,' RKO. Hugo Friedhofer and Emil Newman. 'Henry V,' Arthur Rank-Two Cities, UA (British). William Walton. 'Humoroesque,' Warner Bros. Franz Waxman. 'The Killers,' Mark Hellinger Productions, Universal. Miklos Rosza.
  6. ^ Elley, Derek "Soundtrack: The Year's Film Music". Speed, F. Maurice, ed. (1980). Film Review 1980–1981. London: W. H. Allen. p. 155. ISBN 0-491-02711-7.
  7. ^ "Keen Competition Looming In Acad. Music Award Poll". The Hollywood Reporter. February 13, 1946. p. 8. ProQuest 2322718361. Keenes competition in years is evident in this year's nominations for the three music awards to be presented at the 18th Annual Academy Awards on March 7. Twenty-one nominees have been named for best music scoring of a dramatic or comedy picture, and 12 for best scoring of a musical picture.[...] Named for best music score of a dramatic or comedy picture were: 'The Bell's of St. Mary's,' by Robert Emmett Dolan; 'Brewster's Millions,' by Lou Forbes; 'Captain Kidd,' by Werner Janssen; 'The Enchanted Cottage,' by Roy Webb; [...] 'Spellbound,' by Miklos Rosza; 'This Love of Ours,' by H. J. Salter; 'The Valley of Decision,' by Herbert Stothart; 'The Woman in the Window,' by Arthur Lange and Hugo Friedhofer.
  8. ^ "Nominees for Oscars Announced by Academy: Film Academy's Award Nominations Disclosed Close Races Indicated by List of Candidates; Several Pictures to Compete for First Honors; NOMINEES FOR OSCARS DISCLOSED BY ACADEMY". The Hollywood Reporter. February 13, 1946. pp. A1, A2. ProQuest 165836716. Best scoring of a dramatic or comedy picture: 'The Bishop's Wife,' Hugo Friedhofer; 'Captain from Castile,' Alfred Newman; 'A Double Life,' Miklos Rosza; 'Forever Amber,' David Raksin; 'Life with Father,' Max Steiner.
  9. ^ "Four for Friedhofer". The Hollywood Reporter. February 18, 1949. p. 4. ProQuest 2322706474. When composer Hugo Friedhofer garnered a nomination for his score on 'Joan of Arc,' it marked the first time that anyone, in any classification, has been nominated four consecutive years.
  10. ^ "List 'Oscar' Nominations For 26th Annual Awards". Boxoffice. February 20, 1954. p. 15. ProQuest 1529049996. Best music score of a drama or comedy — Hugo Friedhofer, 'Above and Beyond,' MGM; Morris Stoloff and George Duning, 'From Here to Eternity,' Columbia; Miklos Rosza, 'Julius Caesar,' MGM; Bronislau Kaper, 'Lili,' MGM; Louis Forbes, 'This Is Cinerama,' Cinerama Productions.
  11. ^ Schallert, Edwin (February 19, 1957). "Surprises Mark Selections for 29th Academy Awards: Top Actresses, Actors, Films in Line for Honors". Los Angeles Times. pp. 2, 10. ProQuest 167034262. Best music score of a dramatic or comedy picture nominations were Alfred Newman, 'Anastasia;' the late Victor Young, 'Around the World in 80 Days;' Hugo Friedhofer, 'Between Heaven and Hell;' Dimitri Tiomkin, 'Giant;' Alex North, 'The Rainmaker.'
  12. ^ "NOMINATED FOR TOP ACTING AWARDS: List of Nominations for Academy Awards". Los Angeles Times. February 18, 1958. p. 2. ProQuest 167231623. BEST MUSIC SCORING. 'An Affair to Remember' — Hugo Friedhofer. 'Boy on a Dolphin' — Hugo Friedhofer. Turn to Page 22, Column 5
  13. ^ "Oscar Behind-Camera". Variety. February 25, 1959. p. 7. ProQuest 1032385186. Best Music Score of Dramatic or Comedy Picture: 'Big Country,' Jerome McCross [sic]; 'Old Man, Sea,' Dimitri Tiomkin; 'Separate Tables,' David Raksin; 'White Wilderness,' Oliver Wallace; 'Young Lions,' Hugo Friedhofer.
  14. ^ a b Lees, Gene (March 30, 1975). "Movies: Hugo Friedhofer Scores as Dean of Movie Composers". Los Angeles Times Calendar. p.24. Retrieved December 7, 2023.
  15. ^ Bacon, Leonard (December 1, 1938). "Teaching at Berkeley". Harper's Monthly Magazine. p. 419. ProQuest 1301520414. A wit of the first order (his description of the history department as 'a sham giant surrounded by real pygmies' has the very smack of Voltaire), a poet of sharp and vivid distinction, and a translator of the Sanskrit classics absolutely without peer or parallel, he had, to borrow an image from the Hindu poets, at once 'the danger and the benignity of the cobra that spread its hood to keep the sun off the infant Krishna.'
  16. ^ Danly, Linda, ed. (September 28, 2002). Hugo Friedhofer: The Best Years of His Life: A Hollywood Master of Music for the Movies. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-4478-8.

External links

This page was last edited on 4 January 2024, at 20:45
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