|Frederick "Fred" Steiner|
February 24, 1923|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||June 23, 2011
Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico
|Occupation(s)||Composer, conductor, orchestrator, film historian|
Frederick "Fred" Steiner (February 24, 1923 – June 23, 2011) was an American composer, conductor, orchestrator, film historian and arranger for television, radio and film. Steiner wrote the theme music for The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, Perry Mason and The Bullwinkle Show. In film, Steiner was one of the team of composers for the 1985 film, The Color Purple, which received an Oscar nomination and was an uncredited composer for Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi.
Steiner was most active in television series during the 1950s and 1960s. His numerous composition credits included music for Hogan's Heroes, Have Gun–Will Travel, The Twilight Zone, Gunsmoke, Star Trek and Rawhide.
Steiner was born in New York City, the son of Hungarian-born film composer George Steiner. (They were not related to Hollywood film composer Max Steiner.)
Steiner wrote for a number of television series, including the many episodes of the original Star Trek series to which he contributed scores, more than any other composer. An article he wrote for the Library of Congress, "Music for Star Trek: Scoring a Television Show in the Sixties", outlines and defines the contributions of all the original underscore composers of this series.
Perhaps the best-known of Steiner's works, "Park Avenue Beat", is the Perry Mason TV theme. It was used from 1957 to 1966 for the original Perry Mason series and was re-recorded by Dick DeBenedictis for the subsequent made-for-TV movies in 1985. The tune was covered by The Blues Brothers for the soundtrack of the 1998 film Blues Brothers 2000. Steiner said he wrote such a jazzy theme because he envisioned lawyer-sleuth Mason as a flamboyant, film noir type often out on the town, but Mason as portrayed in the series was a somewhat reserved character seen mostly in his office or in court.
Feature film work
His feature film work included original scores to films such as Run for the Sun (1956), Man from Del Rio (1956), Della (1964), Hercules and the Princess of Troy (1965), First to Fight (1967), Carter's Army (1970), Heatwave! (1974) and The Sea Gypsies (1978), as well as orchestration/adaptation (sometimes uncredited) for other composers including The Man with the Golden Arm (1956), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979).
His Academy Award nomination for "Best Music, Original Score" was for The Color Purple (1985). It was a shared nomination with Quincy Jones, Jeremy Lubbock, Rod Temperton, Caiphus Semenya, Andraé Crouch, Chris Boardman, Jorge Calandrelli, Joel Rosenbaum, Jack Hayes, Jerry Hey, and Randy Kerber. 
Steiner held a doctorate in Musicology from the University of Southern California (1981). His thesis was about the early career of film composer Alfred Newman. Scholarly articles on film music appear in The Cue Sheet, Film Music Quarterly and the Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress.
Fred Steiner died on June 23, 2011, at his home in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico, after suffering a stroke at the age of 88. He was survived by his wife of 64 years, Shirley Steiner; two daughters, singer-songwriter Wendy Waldman and Jillian Sandrock of Ajijic, Mexico; his sister, Kay Gellert; two nieces Willa and Robin; one nephew Adam; two great-nieces Samantha and Rebecca; three great-nephews Lorenzo, Max and Ezra; two grandchildren Saida and Abe; and two great-grandchildren Hannah and Otto.
- "Composer of 'Perry Mason,' 'Bullwinkle Show' themes dies at 88". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 2011-06-26. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- Lewis, Randy (2011-06-25). "Fred Steiner dies at 88; [Hollywood] composer created 'Perry Mason' theme". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2011-06-27.
- Fred Steiner at the Internet Movie Database
- Fred Steiner at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- Fred Steiner at Find a Grave
- Guide to the Fred Steiner papers at the University of Oregon.
- Obituary at FilmMusicReporter.com
- Fred Steiner interview video at the Archive of American Television