Robert E. Dolan

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Robert E. Dolan
Robert E. Dolan (Bobby Dolan), 1937.jpg
Dolan in 1937
BornAugust 3, 1908
DiedSeptember 26, 1972(1972-09-26) (aged 64)
Alma materLoyola College
OccupationConductor, composer, arranger
Years active1930-1966
Spouse(s)Vilma Ebsen (1933-1948) (divorced) (1 child)
Nan Martin (1948-?) (divorced) (1 child)[1]

Robert Emmett Dolan (August 3, 1908 – September 26, 1972) was a Broadway conductor, composer, and arranger beginning in the 1920s. He moved on to radio in the 1930s, and then went to Hollywood in the early 1940s as a musical director for Paramount. He scored, arranged, and conducted many musical and dramatic films in the 1940s and 1950s and produced three musicals. At the end of his career, he returned to the stage – where he had begun.

Life and career[edit]

Dolan was born in Hartford, Connecticut, the eldest of 12 children. He studied piano with his mother and was educated in Montreal. He received further musical education at Loyola College (now Concordia University), later studying extensively with Mortimer Wilson, Joseph Schillinger, and Ernst Toch.[2] Dolan started out playing piano for honky-tonk dance bands and musical comedy bands, and in the 1920s began working as a musician, composer, conductor, and musical director in the theater. Some of the Broadway shows to which he contributed were Leave It To Me, Louisiana Purchase, Of Thee I Sing, and Ziegfeld Follies.[3]

In the 1930s, he began work as a composer, conductor, and music director in radio.

He became music director for MGM in 1941 and then moved on to Paramount, where he was music director for 16 Bing Crosby pictures. He also served as composer and arranger for Ginger Rogers and Betty Hutton, and scored about 60 movies. At the end of his Paramount stay, he was promoted to producer for White Christmas (1954), The Girl Rush (1955), and Anything Goes (1956).[4]

He joined ASCAP in 1946, often collaborating with Johnny Mercer and Walter O'Keefe in popular-song compositions.[2] Dolan later worked in television; his work included specials and documentaries. He was a prominent member of Columbia University's music faculty, where he taught orchestration, conducting, and a film score class (based on his book, Music in Modern Media).[5]

Dolan married and divorced twice, and had one son in each marriage. His first wife was dancer Vilma Ebsen, the sister of Buddy Ebsen. They were married on June 24, 1933, and divorced in January 1948. Their son's name is Robert Emmett Dolan II, also known as Bobby Dolan Jr, who appeared in The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) as Joseph in a children's Christmas play in the film.[6]

His second wife was actress Nan Martin. They were married on March 17, 1948, and had a son, Casey Martin Dolan.[2]


Dolan died in Los Angeles on September 26, 1972, of a heart attack during his sleep.[1] Funeral services were held there and at Columbia University in New York.


Broadway credits[edit]

Other credits[edit]

Oscar nominations[edit]

All 8 Nominations were for Music Scoring Awards (Scoring of a Musical Picture):


  1. ^ a b "ROBERT DOLAN, 64, COMPOSER, IS DEAD". The New York Times. 28 September 1972. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  2. ^ a b c "ROBERT DOLAN, 64, COMPOSER, IS DEAD". The New York Times. 1972-09-28. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-05-27.
  3. ^ Ferencz, George J. (2001). "Dolan, Robert Emmett". Grove Music Online. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.45949. ISBN 978-1-56159-263-0. Retrieved 2022-05-27.
  4. ^ "Robert Emmett Dolan". IMDb. Retrieved 2022-05-27.
  5. ^ Dolan, Robert E. (1967). Music in Modern Media. NY: G. Schirmer, Inc.
  6. ^ McCarey, Leo (1946-02-21), The Bells of St. Mary's (Drama), Rainbow Productions, retrieved 2022-05-27

External links[edit]