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Herbert Stothart

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Herbert Stothart
Herbert Pope Stothart

(1885-09-11)September 11, 1885
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
DiedFebruary 1, 1949(1949-02-01) (aged 63)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale
SpouseMary Wolfe
AwardsBest Original Score
1939 The Wizard of Oz

Herbert Pope Stothart (September 11, 1885 – February 1, 1949) was an American songwriter, arranger, conductor, and composer. He was nominated for twelve Academy Awards and won Best Original Score for The Wizard of Oz. Stothart was widely acknowledged as a prominent member of the top tier of Hollywood composers during the 1930s and 1940s.

Life and career[edit]

Herbert Stothart was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He studied music in Europe and at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he later taught.

Stothart was initially hired by producer Arthur Hammerstein to serve as a musical director for touring companies of Broadway shows. He soon began composing music for Oscar Hammerstein II, the producer's nephew. Notably, Stothart composed music for the famous operetta, Rose-Marie. He collaborated with renowned composers such as Vincent Youmans, George Gershwin and Franz Lehár. Stothart achieved success on the pop charts with standards like "Cute Little Two by Four," "Wildflower," "Bambalina," "The Mounties," "Totem Tom-Tom," "Why Shouldn't We?," "Fly Away," "Song of the Flame," "The Cossack Love Song," "Dawn," "I Wanna Be Loved by You," "Cuban Love Song," "The Rogue Song" and "The Donkey Serenade."

The year 1929 marked the end of the era of silent films. Shortly after completing his latest musical, Golden Dawn, with Emmerich Kálmán, Oscar Hammerstein, and Otto Harbach, Stothart received an invitation from Louis B. Mayer to move to Hollywood, an invitation which he accepted. In 1929, Stothart signed a substantial contract with MGM.

The next twenty years of his life were spent at MGM Studios, where he was part of elite group of Hollywood composers. Among the many films he worked on was the famous 1936 version of Rose-Marie, starring Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy. He conducted and composed songs and scores for films such as The Cuban Love Song, The Good Earth, Romeo and Juliet, Mutiny on the Bounty, Mrs. Miniver, The Green Years and The Picture of Dorian Gray. His notable contributions also include the Marx Brothers' Night at the Opera, the romantic drama Anna Karenina based on Leo Tolstoy's novel, two Charles Dickens adaptations (A Tale of Two Cities and David Copperfield), and Mutiny on the Bounty, which earned him his first Academy Award nomination. He ultimately won an Oscar for his musical score in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

Herbert Stothart dedicated his entire Hollywood career to MGM. In 1947, while visiting Scotland, he suffered a heart attack. Afterward, he composed an orchestral piece titled Heart Attack: A Symphonic Poem, inspired by his personal tribulations. Additionally, he worked on another composition, Voices of Liberation, commissioned by the Roger Wagner Chorale. Stothart died two years later at the age of 63.


Stothart received 12 Academy Award nominations and won the Academy Award for Best Original Score for The Wizard of Oz.

  1. 1939 Best Original Score Film – The Wizard of Oz

Academy Award Nominations:

  1. 1935 Best Scoring Film – Mutiny on the Bounty
  2. 1937 Best Scoring Film – Maytime
  3. 1938 Best Original Score Film – Marie Antoinette
  4. 1938 Best Scoring Film – Sweethearts
  5. 1940 Best Original Score Film – Waterloo Bridge
  6. 1941 Best Music, Scoring a Musical Picture – The Chocolate Soldier
  7. 1942 Best Music, Scoring a Dramatic or Comedy Film – Random Harvest
  8. 1943 Best Music, Scoring a Musical Picture – Thousands Cheer
  9. 1943 Best Music, Scoring a Dramatic or Comedy Film – Madame Curie
  10. 1944 Best Music, Scoring a Dramatic or Comedy Film – Kismet
  11. 1945 Best Music, Scoring a Dramatic or Comedy Film – The Valley of Decision


Herbert Stothart's movie scores include:


Herbert Stothart died of cancer in Los Angeles, California at the age of 63. He is interred at Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.[1]


External links[edit]