Franz Waxman

Active - 1922 - 1966  |   Born - Dec 24, 1906   |   Died - Feb 24, 1967   |   Genres - Drama, Romance, Comedy

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Franz Waxman was among Hollywood's most talented composers of musical scores, best known for his suspenseful scores of many Hitchcock films. He was born Franz Wachsmann in 1906 in what is now Chrozow, Poland, and began playing piano as a child. At age 17, he enrolled in the Dresden Music Academy and later in the Berlin Music Conservatory, working nights playing piano in nightclubs and cafes. After a brief stint in the UFA, Waxman began scoring German films until 1934 when he was beaten up in Berlin by an anti-Semitic street gang. This caused him to move first to Paris, and then to the U.S. where he began scoring films in Hollywood. He founded the Los Angeles Music Festival in 1947. In 1950, he won his first Oscar for the music of Sunset Boulevard. He won another in 1951 for A Place in the Sun, and was nominated several times after that.

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