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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Angela Morley
Birth nameWalter Stott
Born(1924-03-10)10 March 1924
Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, England
Died14 January 2009(2009-01-14) (aged 84)
Scottsdale, Arizona, United States
GenresEasy listening, classical, jazz, big band, film music
Occupation(s)Composer, arranger, orchestrator, conductor
InstrumentsAlto saxophone, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, piano
Years active1940–2008

Angela Morley (born Walter "Wally" Stott, 10 March 1924 – 14 January 2009)[1] was an English composer and conductor who, as Stott, became a familiar household name to BBC radio listeners in the 1950s. She attributed her entry into composing and arranging largely to the influence and encouragement of the Canadian light music composer Robert Farnon. In 1972, Morley underwent sex reassignment surgery. Later in life, she lived in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Morley won two Emmy Awards for her work in music arrangement. These were in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction, in 1988 and 1990, both for television specials starring Julie Andrews. Morley received Emmy nominations for composing music for television series such as Dynasty and Dallas. She was twice nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Music, Original Song Score/Adaptation: for The Little Prince (1974), a nomination shared with Alan Jay Lerner, Frederick Loewe, and Douglas Gamley; and for The Slipper and the Rose, which Morley shared with Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. She was the first openly transgender person to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Early life

Morley was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, in 1924, played saxophone in a number of dance bands, and in 1944, aged 20, became a member of Geraldo's Orchestra, one of the most popular British dance bands.[2]

Pre-transition work

Morley was originally a composer of light music, best known for pieces such as the jaunty "Rotten Row" and "A Canadian in Mayfair", a homage to Robert Farnon's "Portrait of a Flirt". Morley is also remembered for writing the theme tune and incidental music for Hancock's Half Hour,[3] and was the musical director for The Goon Show from the third series in 1952 to the last show in 1960. Another short but remembered theme was the 12-note-long "Ident Zoom-2", written for Lew Grade's Associated TeleVision (ATV), in use from the introduction of colour television in 1969, until the demise of ATV in 1981.

In 1953, Morley began a long association with the Philips record label, arranging for and accompanying the company's artists, as well as releasing records, including the 1958 album, London Pride.

In 1958, Morley began an association with Shirley Bassey, including work for Bassey's recording of "As I Love You", which reached Number 1 in the UK Singles Chart in January 1959, and also worked with Dusty Springfield and the first four solo albums by Scott Walker.[4] In 1962 and 1963, Morley arranged the United Kingdom entries for the Eurovision Song Contest, "Ring-A-Ding Girl" and "Say Wonderful Things", both sung by Ronnie Carroll. The former was conducted on the Eurovision stage in Luxembourg. She was credited with a drum solo in the 1960 horror film Peeping Tom, which a dancer plays on a tape recorder

In 1961, Morley provided the orchestral accompaniments for a selection of choral arrangements made by Norman Luboff for an RCA album that was recorded in London's Walthamstow Town Hall. The New Symphony Orchestra (an ad hoc recording ensemble) was conducted by Leopold Stokowski, and the choir of professional British singers, as rehearsed by Luboff, performed such favourites as "Deep River", Handel's "Largo", Bach's "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring", Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise", etc., under the album's title Inspiration (also later reissued on a BMG Classics CD). In 1962, Morley arranged and conducted the RCA Red Seal debut album Romantic Italian Songs for Italian-born tenor Sergio Franchi, and later did the arrangements and conducting for Franchi's 1963 RCA album, Women in My Life.

In 1966, Morley made several multi-album LP sets for Readers' Digest, also making one in 1971, using own arrangements and orchestra.

Work as Angela Morley

After sex reassignment therapy, in 1972, she orchestrated, arranged, and supervised the music for the final musical film collaboration of Lerner and Loewe, The Little Prince (1974). At this time, she was a regular guest conductor of the BBC Radio Orchestra and BBC Big Band.

She was also the music supervisor, arranger, and conductor for the Sherman Brothers' musical film adaptation of the Cinderella story, The Slipper and the Rose (1976). She received Oscar nominations for both this and The Little Prince.[5] Morley wrote most of the score for the animated film version of Watership Down (1978), although the prelude and opening were drafted by Malcolm Williamson, then Master of the Queen's Music.[6] From about this point she began a collaboration with John Williams, the composer for Star Wars and other films,[7] though working in an uncredited capacity.

During the 1980s, she wrote numerous arrangements for the Boston Pops Orchestra and scored many episodes of television shows, including Dynasty, Dallas, Falcon Crest and Hotel. She was nominated multiple times for Emmy Awards and won for music direction of Julie Andrews television specials.[8]


Morley died in Scottsdale, Arizona, on 14 January 2009 of complications from a fall and subsequent heart attack, at the age of 84.[citation needed] In 2015, BBC Radio 4 told her story in the drama 1977,[9] written by Sarah Wooley,[10] about the year in which Morley was enlisted to complete composition of the musical soundtrack to the film Watership Down in three weeks flat, after Master of the Queen's Music Malcolm Williamson failed to deliver.[11] The play starring Rebecca Root was rebroadcast in 2018.

Selected discography

credited as Wally Stott

credited as Angela Morley

Selected filmography


  1. ^ "Composer Angela Morley dies". The Stage.
  2. ^ BBC Radio 4 documentary presented by Stuart Barr: "Musical Variations: The Life of Angela Morley", 1st broadcast 23 February 2016
  3. ^ Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 78. ISBN 1-84854-195-3.
  4. ^ BBC Wales – Music – Shirley Bassey – "As I Love You"
  5. ^ Gaughan, Gavin (23 January 2009), "Obituary: Angela Morley", Guardian
  6. ^ "How the music score  for the 1978 feature film Watership Down came together". Angela Morley’s website, retrieved 26 March 2018.
  7. ^ Angela Morley's career autobiography.
  8. ^ BWW News Desk (18 January 2009), "Emmy Winning and Oscar Nominated Arranger Angela Morley Passes Away at 84", Broadway World
  9. ^ "Drama: 1977". BBC online, 3 December 2015.
  10. ^ "Sarah Wooley, writer for radio, TV, film, theatre". Wooley’s website, retrieved 26 March 2018.
  11. ^ "About so much more than ‘a transgender woman in the 1970s’". BBC/blogs/writersroom, 30 November 2015.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 8 February 2019, at 20:02
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