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John Williams Biography

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John Williams In-depth Biography

The most popular film composer of the modern era, John Williams} created music for some of the most successful motion pictures in Hollywood history -- Star Wars}, E.T. the Extra Terrestrial}, and Jurassic Park} are just three of the credits in his extensive oeuvre. Born February 8, 1932, in Long Island, NY, he was himself the son of a movie studio musician, and he followed in his father's footsteps by studying music at UCLA and Juilliard; initially, he pursued a career as a jazz} pianist, later working with Henry Mancini} to compose the score for the hit television series Peter Gunn}. Williams} then went solo to pen a number of TV soundtracks for series including Playhouse 90}, Wagon Train}, and Bachelor Father}; in 1959 he ventured into film with Daddy-O}, and spent the majority of the 1960s alternating between the silver screen (The Killers}, The Plainsman}) and its smaller counterpart (Gilligan's Island}, Lost in Space}).

In 1968 Williams} earned his first Academy Award nomination for his work in Valley of the Dolls}; in 1970, he garnered nods for both The Reivers} and Goodbye, Mr. Chips}, and two years later finally won for Fiddler on the Roof}. A slew of Oscar nominations followed, for features including The Poseidon Adventure}, Images}, Tom Sawyer}, and The Towering Inferno}. In 1974 he first teamed with a young filmmaker named Steven Spielberg} on a movie titled The Sugarland Express}; the two frequently reteamed over the years to come, with often stunning results -- Jaws}, Close Encounters of the Third Kind}, Raiders of the Lost Ark}, E.T.}, Jurassic Park}, and Schindler's List} were just a few of the Spielberg}/Williams} pairings, with Jaws}, E.T.}, and Schindler's List} all winning the composer Academy Awards.

Williams}' other most frequent collaborator was George Lucas}; beginning with 1977's Star Wars} -- yet another Williams} Oscar winner -- they later teamed for 1980's The Empire Strikes Back} and 1983's Return of the Jedi}, with the composer agreeing to score Lucas}' subsequent Star Wars} films as they went into production in 1997. He even celebrated his 30th anniversary of working with Steven Spielberg} with 2002's Minority Report} soundtrack}. Other scores of note included 1979's Superman}, 1987's The Witches of Eastwick}, 1988's The Accidental Tourist}, 1991's JFK}, and 1995's Nixon}. In 1980, Williams} also took over for the late Arthur Fiedler} as the conductor of the Boston Pops}. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide

John Williams Biography / John Williams Information

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