Heinz Eric Roemheld
Heinz Roemheld (May 1, 1901 – February 11, 1985) was an American composer. Born Heinrich Erich Roemheld in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was one of four children of German immigrant Heinrich Roemheld and his wife Fanny Rauterberg Roemheld. Heinrich was a pharmacist, but all the members of the family were musical. Heinz's brother Edgar (1898-1964) became a conductor, while sister Irmgard (1904-1995) became a well-known Milwaukee music teacher and radio broadcaster.
Roemheld was a child prodigy who began playing the piano at the age of 4. He graduated from the Milwaukee College of Music at 19, and performed in theaters to earn money to study piano in Europe. In 1920, he went to Berlin, where he studied with Hugo Kaun, Ferruccio Busoni, and Egon Petri. While he was there, he appeared in concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
When he returned to America, Roemheld became involved in recording music for silent movies, both as a pianist and as a conductor. In 1925, he was sent back to Berlin as head of Universal Pictures theaters there, but he had to leave Germany in 1929 because of the rise of Nazism.
Back in America, Roemheld became a prominent film composer. He scored some scenes in Gone with the Wind, including the burning of Atlanta, although he was not credited on-screen. In 1942 he won the Academy Award for Best Original Music Score for Yankee Doodle Dandy. Among the more than 400 other films for which he composed music were Gentleman Jim, The Lady From Shanghai, The Invisible Man, A Scandal in Paris, and Shine On, Harvest Moon.
Roemheld continued writing for film for several of the major studios until the late 1950s. After briefly working in television, he retired in 1964 to concentrate on his classical composition. He is best known for the song "Ruby", from the movie Ruby Gentry (1952), which has become a standard.
He married a former Miss Milwaukee, Emeline Defnet (1901-1980), from whom he was later divorced. They had two daughters, Mary Lou Roemheld, who was married for years to game show host Jack Narz, and Ann, who married game show host Bill Cullen.
Additional film credits
- The Czar of Broadway (1930)
- See America Thirst (1930)
- The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1931 reissue)
- Fashions of 1934 (1934)
- Housewife (1934)
- The Black Cat (1934)
- Midnight Alibi (1934)
- Ruggles of Red Gap (1935)
- The Girl from 10th Avenue (1935)
- Front Page Woman (1935)
- Dracula's Daughter (1936)
- China Clipper (1936)
- It's Love I'm After (1937)
- Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase (1939)
- Gentleman Jim (1942)
- Wild Bill Hickok Rides (1942)
- The Lady from Shanghai (1947)
- On Our Merry Way (1948)
- Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949)
- Female on the Beach (1955)
- The Price of Fear (1956)
- The Monster That Challenged the World (1957)
-  "Born Heinrich Erich Roemheld in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was one of four children of German immigrant Heinrich Roemheld and his wife Fanny Rauterberg Roemheld."
- "Milwaukee-born Heinz Roemheld followed a circuitous route to a career as a film composer. At age four he was identified as a piano prodigy; he later studied with Ferruccio Busoni and Egon Petri in Berlin, and performed as a guest soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic at 23."