100 Greatest Movie Composers

by jordanhores | created - 21 Sep 2015 | updated - 09 Dec 2016 | Public

This list is a list of best film composers chosen based on composition, originality, variation, variety, quantity and success in the film score business.

1. John Williams

Music_department | Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

As one of the best known, awarded, and financially successful composers in US history, John Williams is as easy to recall as John Philip Sousa, Aaron Copland or Leonard Bernstein, illustrating why he is "America's composer" time and again. With a massive list of awards that includes over 41 Oscar ...

2. Bernard Herrmann

Soundtrack | Taxi Driver

The man behind the low woodwinds that open Citizen Kane (1941), the shrieking violins of Psycho (1960), and the plaintive saxophone of Taxi Driver (1976) was one of the most original and distinctive composers ever to work in film. He started early, winning a composition prize at the age of 13 and ...

3. Franz Waxman

Composer | Sunset Blvd.

Franz Waxman (Wachsmann) pursued his dream of a career in music despite his family's misgivings. He worked for several years as a bank teller and paid for piano, harmony and composition lessons with his salary. He later moved to Berlin, where he continued his study and progress as a musician. He ...

4. Max Steiner

Composer | The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Austrian composer Max Steiner achieved legendary status as the creator of hundreds of classic American film scores. He was born Maximilian Raoul Walter Steiner in Vienna, Austria, the son of Marie Mizzi (Hasiba) and Gabor Steiner, an impresario, and the grandson of actor and theater director and ...

5. Elmer Bernstein

Composer | Far from Heaven

Elmer Bernstein was educated at the Walden School and New York University. He served in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. A prolific and respected film music composer, he was a protégé of Aaron Copland, who studied music with Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe. Bernstein worked in various ...

6. Miklós Rózsa

Composer | Ben-Hur

A child prodigy, Miklos Rózsa learned to play the violin at the age of five and read music before he was able to read words. In 1926, he began studying at the Leipzig Conservatory where he was considered a brilliant student. He obtained his doctorate in music in 1930. Moving to Paris the following ...

7. Alfred Newman

Composer | All About Eve

Alfred Newman was born on March 17, 1901 in New Haven, Connecticut, USA. He is known for his work on All About Eve (1950), How the West Was Won (1962) and V for Vendetta (2005). He was married to Martha Montgomery and Mary Lou Dix. He died on February 17, 1970 in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California,...

8. Maurice Jarre

Composer | Lawrence of Arabia

Unlike many musicians who started to learn music while still in their childhood, Maurice Jarre was already late in his teens when he discovered music and decided to make a career in that field. Against his father's will, he enrolled at Conservatoire de Paris where he studied percussions, ...

9. Dimitri Tiomkin

Music_department | High Noon

Dimitri Tiomkin was a Russian Jewish composer who emigrated to America and became one of the most distinguished and best-loved music writers of Hollywood. He won a hallowed place in the pantheon of the most successful and productive composers in American film history, earning himself four Oscars ...

10. Herbert Stothart

Music_department | The Wizard of Oz

Of Scottish and German ancestry, Herbert Stothart was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1885. At first, he was slated for a career as a teacher of history. However, he became enamored with music while singing in a school choir, and again, later, while attending the University of Wisconsin. There, he...

11. Quincy Jones

Producer | The Color Purple

Considered to be one of the greatest minds in music and television history, Quincy Delight Jones, Jr. was born on March 14, 1933 in Chicago, Illinois. He is the son of Sarah Frances (Wells), a bank executive, and Quincy Delight Jones, Sr., a carpenter.

Jones found his love for music while he was ...

12. Henry Mancini

Soundtrack | Breakfast at Tiffany's

Born in Cleveland, Ohio, but brought up in Pennsylvania, where he played the flute in a local band, as a youth, before sending some arrangements to Benny Goodman. Goodman offered him a job and, after serving in WWII, he joined the rearranged Glenn Miller band. In 1952, he was given a two-week ...

13. André Previn

Music_department | My Fair Lady

German-American pianist, composer, arranger and conductor André George Previn (born Andreas Ludwig Priwin, in Berlin) was for eight decades a hugely influential and prolific figure in jazz, as well as classical and film music. Being Jewish, Previn's family was forced to leave Hitler's Germany in ...

14. Nino Rota

Composer | The Godfather

Born in Milan in 1911 into a family of musicians, Nino Rota was first a student of Orefice and Pizzetti. Then, still a child, he moved to Rome where he completed his studies at the Conservatory of Santa Cecilia in 1929 with Alfredo Casella. In the meantime, he had become an 'enfant prodige', famous...

15. Charles Chaplin

Writer | The Great Dictator

Considered to be one of the most pivotal stars of the early days of Hollywood, Charlie Chaplin lived an interesting life both in his films and behind the camera. He is most recognized as an icon of the silent film era, often associated with his popular character, the Little Tramp; the man with the ...

16. Leonard Bernstein

Soundtrack | New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts

Renowned composer ("West Side Story", "Candide", "On The Town"), conductor, arranger, pianist, educator, author, TV/radio host, educated at the Boston Latin School and Harvard University (BA) with Walter Piston. Edward Burlingame Hill and A. Tillman Merritt. He studied piano with Helen Coates, ...

17. Victor Young

Composer | The Quiet Man

Violinist and conductor Victor Young was a prolific composer and arranger, who worked on more than 300 film scores over a period of twenty years. He came from an impoverished, but musical background and was trained on the violin at the Warsaw Imperial Conservatory, later studying piano in Paris ...

18. Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Composer | The Adventures of Robin Hood

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was the son of a well-known music critic. A child prodigy, he accompanied his father in playing four-handed piano arrangements by the age of five. By the age of eleven he drew his first plaudits from enthusiastic Viennese audiences (including the emperor Franz Josef) with ...

19. Bill Conti

Composer | For Your Eyes Only

Bill Conti was born on April 13, 1942 in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. He is known for his work on For Your Eyes Only (1981), Rocky (1976) and The Karate Kid Part II (1986). He is married to Shelby Cox. They have two children.

20. Alex North

Music_department | Spartacus

Alex North studied music at the Curtis Institute of Philadelphia, then won a scholarship to Juilliard in New York (1929) and the Moscow Conservatoire (1933), making him the first-ever American to become a member of the Union of Soviet Composers. In Europe, he worked as music director for the ...

21. Ennio Morricone

Composer | The Hateful Eight

A classmate of director Sergio Leone with whom he would form one of the great director/composer partnerships (right up there with Eisenstein & Prokofiev, Hitchcock & Herrmann, Fellini & Rota), Ennio Morricone studied at Rome's Santa Cecilia Conservatory, where he specialized in trumpet. His first ...

22. Randy Newman

Soundtrack | The Princess and the Frog

Randy Newman was born on November 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Randall Stuart Newman. He has been married to Gretchen Preece since 1990. They have two children. He was previously married to Roswitha Schmale.

23. Alan Silvestri

Composer | The Polar Express

In his ongoing, decades-long career as a composer, Alan Silvestri has blazed an innovative trail with his exciting and melodic scores, winning the applause of Hollywood and movie audiences the world over. With a credit list of over 100 films Silvestri has composed some of the most recognizable and ...

24. Howard Shore

Music_department | The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Howard Shore is a Canadian composer, born in Toronto. He was born in a Jewish family. He started studying music when 8-years-old, and played as a member of bands by the time he was 13-years-old. He was interested in a professional career in music as a teenager. He studied music at the Berklee ...

25. John Barry

Music_department | Dances with Wolves

John Barry was born in York, England in 1933, and was the youngest of three children. His father, Jack, owned several local cinemas and by the age of fourteen, Barry was capable of running the projection box on his own - in particular, The Rialto in York. As he was brought up in a cinematic ...

26. James Horner

Music_department | Titanic

James Horner began studying piano at the age of five, and trained at the Royal College of Music in London, England, before moving to California in the 1970s. After receiving a bachelor's degree in music at USC, he would go on to earn his master's degree at UCLA and teach music theory there. He ...

27. Hans Zimmer

Composer | Gladiator

German-born composer Hans Zimmer is recognized as one of Hollywood's most innovative musical talents. He featured in the music video for The Buggles' single "Video Killed the Radio Star", which became a worldwide hit and helped usher in a new era of global entertainment as the first music video to ...

28. Thomas Newman

Music_department | Skyfall

Thomas Newman is an American film score composer. He was born in Los Angeles. His father was notable film score composer Alfred Newman (1900-1970). The Newman family is of Russian-Jewish descent, and includes several other well-known musicians. Thomas' mother Martha Louis Montgomery (1920-2005) ...

29. Michael Kamen

Soundtrack | Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Michael Kamen was born on April 15, 1948 in New York City, New York, USA as Michael Arnold Kamen. He was married to Sandra Keenan. He died on November 18, 2003 in London, England.

30. James Newton Howard

Composer | King Kong

James Newton Howard attended the University of Southern California's music school, but dropped out to tour with Elton John, and eventually compose music for film and television. He started with Head Office (1985) in 1985. He has been nominated for eight Academy Awards. He currently is a songwriter, ...

31. Patrick Doyle

Composer | Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Patrick Doyle is a classically trained composer.

His first film score, the acclaimed adaptation of "Henry V" with Kenneth Branagh for Renaissance films was scored in 1989. He has subsequently worked with Kenneth Branagh, a long time collaborator on numerous pictures including "Dead Again", "Much Ado...

32. Michel Legrand

Composer | The Thomas Crown Affair

Michel Legrand is a three-time Academy Award-winning French composer, conductor and pianist who composed over 200 film and television scores as well as recorded over a hundred albums of jazz, popular and classical music.

He was born on February 24, 1932, in Becon-les-Bruyeres, in the Paris suburbs, ...

33. Elliot Goldenthal

Music_department | Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within

Elliot Goldenthal is an Academy Award-winning composer best known for his original music scores for such films as Frida (2002) and Across the Universe (2007), among his other works.

He was born on May 2, 1954, in Brooklyn, New York. His father was a house-painter, and his mother was a seamstress. ...

34. Alan Menken

Soundtrack | Beauty and the Beast

New York-songwriter and film composer, Alan Menken is best known for his unforgettable music for Disney movies like Calypso music of The Little Mermaid (1989), the tale as old as time of Beauty and the Beast (1991), the Arabian tale Aladdin (1992) or the beloved song Colors of the Wind from ...

35. Marvin Hamlisch

Soundtrack | The Spy Who Loved Me

Musical talent ran in Marvin Hamlisch's family - his father was an accordionist, and at seven Hamlisch was the youngest student ever accepted by Manhattan's Julliard School of Music. Hamlich furthered his education by taking night classes at Queens College and working during the day as a rehearsal ...

36. Philip Glass

Soundtrack | The Truman Show

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, Glass worked in his father's radio store and discovered music listening to the offbeat Western classical records customers didn't seem to want. He studied the violin and flute, and obtained early admission to the University of Chicago. After graduating in mathematics ...

37. Michael Giacchino

Composer | Star Trek

Michael Giacchino is an American composer of music for films, television and video games.

Giacchino composed the scores to the television series Lost, Alias and Fringe, the video game series Medal of Honor and Call of Duty and many films such as The Incredibles (2004), Star Trek (2009), Up (2009), ...

38. Alexandre Desplat

Composer | The King's Speech

Composer and conductor Alexandre Desplat, Oscar winner and seven-time Academy Award nominated, for his prolific filmography and his collaborations with Stephen Frears, Terrence Malick, Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Jacques Audiard, Wes Anderson, Roman Polanski, George Clooney or Matteo Garrone is one ...

39. Harry Gregson-Williams

Composer | Shrek

Harry Gregson-Williams is one of Hollywood's most sought-after and prolific composers whose long list of film and television credits underscore the diverse range of his talents. His latest projects include the science fiction action thriller "The Meg," directed by Jon Turteltaub, the action ...

40. Carter Burwell

Music_department | Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Carter Burwell was born on November 18, 1954 in New York City, New York, USA as Carter Benedict Burwell. He is known for his work on Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017), Carol (2015) and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011). He has been married to Christine Sciulli since ...

41. Richard M. Sherman

Music_department | Mary Poppins

Richard Morton Sherman was born in the spring of 1928 in New York City to Rosa and Al Sherman. Together with his older brother, Robert B. Sherman, the Sherman brothers would follow in their songwriting father's footsteps to form one of the most prolific, lauded and long lasting songwriting ...

42. David Raksin

Soundtrack | Captain America: The First Avenger

David Raksin's father Isidore, who both conducted and owned a music store, taught his son to play piano as well as woodwind instruments at an early age. He eventually studied music with Arnold Schönberg, but became by-and-large a self-taught multi-instrumentalist (organ and percussion), as well as ...

43. William Walton

Soundtrack | Last Action Hero

William Walton came from a musical family. He entered Christ Church, Oxford at the early age of sixteen but left without a degree in 1920. A fine musician, he was essentially self-taught as a composer, except some instruction from Hugh Allen, the cathedral organist. Through literary friends and ...

44. Bronislau Kaper

Composer | Mutiny on the Bounty

Born: February 5, 1902 in Warsaw, Poland Died: April 25, 1983 in Los Angeles, California, USA Kaper displayed musical talent as early as the age of seven when his family acquired a piano. His inclination to music led him to study both piano and composition, while also taking courses in law to ...

45. Ernest Gold

Music_department | It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

Ernest Gold was born on July 13, 1921 in Vienna, Austria as Ernst Siegmund Goldner. He is known for his work on It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963), On the Beach (1959) and Exodus (1960). He was married to Jan Keller and Marni Nixon. He died on March 17, 1999 in Santa Monica, California, USA.

46. Georges Auric

Composer | Le salaire de la peur

At the least George Auric was a fine musician, having been a child prodigy, but he was much more in the musical world. He studied under Vincent D'Indy (a devotee of Cesar Franck and the German school of symphonic composition) and attended the Paris Conservatory (1920). By the time he was 20 he had ...

47. Hans J. Salter

Composer | It Started with Eve

Studied composition at the Vienna Academy of Music. Became assistant director of the Vienna Volksoper, and, subsequently, music director of the Berlin State Opera. Worked in the film industry with UFA from 1929, as head of their music department. Emigrated to the U.S. in 1937 (U.S. citizen from ...

48. Jerome Moross

Soundtrack | The World's End

Brooklyn-born composer and orchestrator, who graduated from New York University at the age of eighteen. A child prodigy, he was already an accomplished pianist at the age of five and began composing music three years later. His first serious work ('Paeans') was performed in public when he was ...

49. Roy Webb

Composer | Notorious

Trained in classical music at Columbia University, Webb worked on Broadway by the time he was in his mid-20's, not only composing incidental music, but co-writing original plays with his older brother, the director Kenneth S. Webb. By 1923, he worked as conductor/arranger on hit shows like "Music ...

51. Hugo Friedhofer

Composer | The Best Years of Our Lives

Hugo Friedhofer -- how many times have you seen that name in the credits of 1930s and '40s movies for "orchestration" or "musical arranger" and thought -- Gee, what a busy guy! He was, and, ironically, much of that work went uncredited. He is not usually mentioned with the great film composers of ...

52. Sergei Prokofiev

Soundtrack | Red Heat

Prokofiev was a multi-talented man and an innovative composer. He learned piano from his mother and chess from his father. He always had a chess set on his piano, and was able to play against the chess champions of his time. He studied music with Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, graduated with highest ...

53. Johnny Green

Music_department | West Side Story

Composer-pianist-arranger Johnny Green was born in Far Rockaway, New York. The son of musical parents, Green was accepted by Harvard at the age of 15, and entered the University in 1924. Between semesters, bandleader Guy Lombardo heard his Harvard Gold Coast Orchestra and hired him to create dance ...

54. Malcolm Arnold

Composer | The Bridge on the River Kwai

Born in Northampton on 21st October 1921, Malcolm Arnold studied composition with Gordon Jacob and trumpet with Ernest Hall at the Royal College of Music. In 1941 he joined the trumpet section of the London Philharmonic Orchestra, becoming principal by 1943. After two years of war service and one ...

55. Aaron Copland

Soundtrack | He Got Game

Aaron Copland is an Academy Award-winning composer (The Heiress (1949)), author, conductor, lecturer and educator. He was educated at public schools and was a music student of his sister and later Leopold Wolfson, Victor Wittgenstein, Clarence Adler, Rubin Goldmark and Nadia Boulanger. In 1925, he ...

56. Rachel Portman

Composer | Never Let Me Go

Rachel Portman was born on December 11, 1960 in Haslemere, Surrey, England as Rachel Mary Berkeley Portman. She is known for her work on Never Let Me Go (2010), Emma (1996) and Chocolat (2000). She has been married to Uberto Pasolini since 1995. They have three children.

57. Ron Goodwin

Music_department | Frenzy

Ron Goodwin was born on 17th February 1925 in Plymouth. He was the son of a London policeman who was detached to the harbour-town. His mother felt that piano lessons would be a good pastime, so in his fifth year, the little Ron was hoisted onto a piano-stool and his education on this instrument ...

58. David Arnold

Soundtrack | Casino Royale

David Arnold was born on January 23, 1962 in Luton, England. He is known for his work on Casino Royale (2006), Independence Day (1996) and Godzilla (1998). He has been married to Ellie Pole since June 8, 1996. They have three children.

59. John Morris

Sound_department | Léon

60. George Fenton

Composer | Groundhog Day

George Fenton was born on October 19, 1949 in Bromley, Kent, England as George Richard Ian Howe. He is known for his work on Groundhog Day (1993), The Bounty Hunter (2010) and Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998).

61. John Corigliano

Composer | Le violon rouge

John Corigliano was born on February 16, 1938 in New York City, New York, USA. He is known for his work on The Red Violin (1998), Altered States (1980) and Revolution (1985).

62. David Shire

Music_department | Zodiac

David Shire was born on July 3, 1937 in Buffalo, New York, USA as David Lee Shire. He is known for his work on Zodiac (2007), Short Circuit (1986) and Saturday Night Fever (1977). He has been married to Didi Conn since February 11, 1984. They have one child. He was previously married to Talia Shire.

63. Nat 'King' Cole

Soundtrack | The Nat King Cole Show

Nat King Cole was born Nathaniel Adams Coles at Montgomery, Alabama. He received music lessons from his mother and his family moved to Chicago when he was only five, where his father Edward James Coles was a minister at the True Light Baptist Church and later Pastor of the First Baptist Church. At ...

64. Louis Armstrong

Actor | High Society

Louis Armstrong grew up poor in a single-parent household. He was 13 when he celebrated the New Year by running out on the street and firing a pistol that belonged to the current man in his mother's life. At the Colored Waifs Home for Boys, he learned to play the bugle and the clarinet and joined ...

65. Duke Ellington

Composer | Anatomy of a Murder

Composer ("It Don't Mean a Thing if It Ain't Got That Swing", "Sophisticated Lady", "Mood Indigo", "Solitude", "In a Mellotone", "Satin Doll"), pianist and conductor, holder of an honorary music degree from Wilberforce University and an LHD from Milton College, Duke Ellington led his own orchestra ...

66. Burl Ives

Actor | The Big Country

Burl Ives was one of six children born to a Scottish-Irish farming family. He first sang in public for a soldiers' reunion when he was age 4. In high school, he learned the banjo and played fullback, intending to become a football coach when he enrolled at Eastern Illinois State Teacher's College ...

67. Cab Calloway

Soundtrack | The Blues Brothers

Bandleader, songwriter ("Minnie the Moocher", "Are You Hep to That Jive?"), composer, singer, actor and author, educated at Crane College. While studying law, he sang with the band The Alabamians, and took over the group in 1928. He led The Missourians orchestra, then organized and led his own ...

68. Charlie Parker

Soundtrack | Se7en

Charles Christopher Parker Jr. was born on August 29, 1920, in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, to Charles Parker Sr. and his 18-year-old wife Addie. His father ran out on the family when Charlie was just a little boy. When he was 11 his mother bought him an alto saxophone for his birthday. By ...

69. A.P. Carter

Soundtrack | 2012

A.P. Carter was born on December 15, 1891 in Maces Springs, Scott County, Virginia, USA as Alvin Pleasant Delaney Carter. He was married to Sara Dougherty. He died on November 7, 1960 in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA.

70. Benny Goodman

Soundtrack | Allied

The King of Swing! Famed clarinetist, composer ("Stompin' at the Savoy") and conductor, educated at the Lewis Institute in Chicago and a student of Schillinger and Schoepp. He was a clarinetist with the orchestras of Bix Beiderbecke, Jules Herbuveaux, Arnold Johnson and Ben Pollack, and also played...

71. Glenn Miller

Soundtrack | The Shape of Water

Alton Glenn Miller was born on March 1, 1904, in Clarinda, Iowa; the son of Lewis Elmer and Mattie Lou Cavender Miller. He started his music studies when his father gave him a mandolin. He soon traded the mandolin for an old horn. In 1916 he switched to trombone. In 1923, he enrolled in the ...

72. Tommy Dorsey

Soundtrack | The Human Stain

Tommy Dorsey was born on November 19, 1905 in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, USA as Thomas Francis Dorsey. He was married to Jane Karl New, Patricia Dane and Mildred A Kraft. He died on November 26, 1956 in Greenwich, Connecticut, USA.

73. Earl 'Fatha' Hines

Soundtrack | The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

Pianist, composer ("Everything Depends on You"), conductor and author educated at Schenley High School and in private piano study. He accompanied singers and was pianist for several instrumental groups, eventually forming his own band in Chicago in 1928, which he conducted into 1948 when he joined ...

74. Irving Berlin

Soundtrack | Blue Skies

Irving Berlin was born Israel Isidor Baline on May 11, 1888 in Mogilev, Belarus, Russian Empire. Towering composer, songwriter, ("God Bless America", "Always", "Blue Skies", "White Christmas") author and publisher, he came to the United States at age 5 and was educated in New York's public schools....

75. Dave Brubeck

Soundtrack | Inland Empire

Dave Brubeck was born on December 6, 1920 in Concord, California, USA as David Warren Brubeck. He was married to Iola Brubeck. He died on December 5, 2012 in Norwalk, Connecticut, USA.

76. Dooley Wilson

Actor | Casablanca

"You must remember this, a kiss is still a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh; the fundamental things apply, as time goes by...". . The gentleman who crooned this now legendary tune for the morose Humphrey Bogart and moist-eyed Ingrid Bergman at Rick's Cafe Americain amid the bleak WWII backdrop was none ...

77. Louis Prima

Actor | The Jungle Book

Born in New Orleans' French Quarter, Louis Prima longed to play jazz. When he was a child, he studied the violin. His older brother Leon took up trumpet while Louis was still quite young, and he soon followed in his brother's footsteps. He played in clubs like "The Famous Door" in the 1930s, and by...

78. Leopold Stokowski

Soundtrack | Fantasia

Flamboyant, latterly white-maned, U.S. conductor known best for his popularization of classical music. (He is also known for teaching 'Mickey Mouse' a few things about music in Walt Disney's Fantasia (1940), in which Stokowski was featured with the Philadelphia Orchestra). He was a pioneer in the ...

79. Victor Borge

Actor | Higher and Higher

Pianist, composer, songwriter, entertainer and actor, educated at Borgerdydskolen and the Conservatory of Copenhagen. He studied with Egon Petri and Frederic Lammond. His concert career began in 1922, and he performed in a musical revue in 1934, and in films by 1937. Arriving in the US in 1940, he ...

80. Coleman Hawkins

Soundtrack | On the Road

Coleman Hawkins was called "The father of the tenor sax". He was a pioneer in this instrument, starting his career with the blues singer Mamie Smith in 1921. In 1923 he played with Fletcher Henderson until 1934. In this orchestra he was a partner of Louis Armstrong in 1924. In the mid-thirties he ...

81. Cole Porter

Soundtrack | At Long Last Love

Cole Porter was born June 9, 1891, at Peru, Indiana, the son of pharmacist Samuel Fenwick Porter and Kate Cole. Cole was raised on a 750-acre fruit ranch. Kate Cole married Samuel Porter in 1884 and had two children, Louis and Rachel, who both died in infancy. Porter's grandfather, J.G. Cole, was a...

82. Fats Waller

Soundtrack | Eraserhead

Thomas Waller was born in 1904. He was one of the most important pianist in the history of jazz. He studied piano with James P. Johnson, one of the masters of the stride piano in the 1920s. Fats began recording his first piano solos in 1923. He worked in the revue "Hot Chocolates" in the late 1920s...

83. Muddy Waters

Soundtrack | Adventures in Babysitting

Muddy Waters (born McKinley Morganfield) was one of the major forces in contemporary blues. He was instrumental in bringing the sound of the Mississippi Delta to Chicago in the 1940s, where his recordings for the Chess label exerted an enormous influence on both blues and rock musicians from the ...

84. Fats Domino

Soundtrack | Twelve Monkeys

Fats Domino was born on February 26, 1928 in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA as Antoine Domino Jr. He was married to Rosemary Hall. He died on October 24, 2017 in New Orleans.

85. T-Bone Walker

Soundtrack | The Firm

T-Bone Walker was born on May 28, 1910 in Linden, Texas, USA as Aaron Thibeaux Walker. He was married to Vida. He died on March 16, 1975 in Los Angeles, California, USA.

86. Elmore James

Soundtrack | '71

Mississippi-born Elmore Leonard was a blues musician known as "The King of the Slide Guitar". He played on various radio shows throughout the South and built up a following. In 1951, he recorded his first record, "Dust My Broom", for the small Trumpet Records label out of Jackson, MS. It became a "...

87. Wayne King

Soundtrack | Crimes and Misdemeanors

Conductor, composer and clarinetist, educated at Valparaiso University. He played professional football and was an insurance salesman and an auto and railroad mechanic. His musical career began when he played clarinet for the Del Lampe Orchestra, eventually leading his own orchestra for nine years ...

88. Xavier Cugat

Soundtrack | Two Weeks Notice

Born in Spain, Xavier Cugat's family moved to Havana, Cuba, when he was three. Always musically inclined, he packed up and moved to Los Angeles, where he worked as a cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times newspaper during the day and labored to put together a band at night. After a few years of ...

89. Mischa Elman

Actor | Toast of the Town

Famed violinist and composer, educated at the Royal Music School in Odessa with Fiedelman, and in the Petrograd University with Leopold Auer. He was awarded an honorary Musical Doctorate from the Chicago Musical College. He made his Berlin debut in 1904, his London debut in 1905, and his New York ...

90. Lawrence Tibbett

Actor | New Moon

One of the great voices of the Metropolitan Opera, Lawrence Mervil Tibbet was born in Bakersfield, California, in 1896. Born at the end of the "wild west" era, he was only six when his father, who was a Kern County deputy sheriff, was killed by bandits. After training with, among others, ...

91. Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Actor | Mystery Train

Screamin' Jay Hawkins was best known for his song "I Put a Spell On You, " which he recorded on the Okeh label in 1956 and which helped win him cult status in the United States, Europe and Japan. He had originally planned the tune as a ballad, but after a night of heavy drinking he tried again--...

92. Sonny Boy Williamson

Soundtrack | Mulholland Dr.

Sonny Boy Williamson was born on December 5, 1899 in Glendora, Mississippi, USA as Aleck Miller. He died on May 25, 1965 in Helena, Arkansas, USA.

93. Johannes Brahms

Soundtrack | Grosse Pointe Blank

German Romantic composer Johannes Brahms was born in Hamburg in 1833 and died in Vienna, Austria in 1897. A perfectionist, he often compared himself unfavorably to composers such as Beethoven and ended up destroying many compositions without their ever being heard. While basically conservative, he ...

94. Hot Lips Page

Soundtrack | Last Exit to Brooklyn

Jazz musician, blues vocalist and band leader Hot Lips Page (born Oran Page on January 27, 1908, in Dallas, TX) was much influenced and often overshadowed by Louis Armstrong. Page specialized on the trumpet from the age of 12. He first toured the vaudeville circuit with Ma Rainey, after a spell of ...

95. Howlin' Wolf

Soundtrack | The Sopranos

Howlin' Wolf was born on June 10, 1910 in White Station, Mississippi, USA as Chester Arthur Burnett. He was married to Lillie Handley. He died on January 10, 1976 in Hines, Illinois, USA.

96. John Coltrane

Soundtrack | Vanilla Sky

John Coltrane was born on September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina, USA as John William Coltrane. He was married to Alice Macleod and Juanita Grubbs. He died on July 17, 1967 in Huntington, Long Island, New York, USA.

97. Thelonious Monk

Soundtrack | The Omega Man

Thelonious Monk was born on October 10, 1917 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, USA as Thelonious Sphere Monk. He was married to Nellie Monk. He died on February 17, 1982 in Englewood, New Jersey, USA.

98. Cannonball Adderley

Soundtrack | The Wolf of Wall Street

Cannonball Adderley was born on September 15, 1928 in Tampa, Florida, USA as Julian Edwin Adderley. He was married to Olga James. He died on August 8, 1975 in Gary, Indiana, USA.

99. Dizzy Gillespie

Soundtrack | The Talented Mr. Ripley

John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie, along with Charlie Parker, ushered in the era of Be-Bop in the American jazz tradition. He was born in Cheraw, South Carolina, and was the youngest of nine children. He began playing piano at the age of four and received a music scholarship to the Laurinburg Institute ...

100. Big Joe Turner

Soundtrack | The Rainmaker

Big Joe Turner was born on May 18, 1911 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA as Joseph Vernon Turner. He was married to Patricia. He died on November 24, 1985 in Los Angeles, California, USA.



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