Born in Russia, Joseph A. Gershenson relocated to the U.S. after the 1917 revolution. During the silent-film era, Gershenson worked as a moviehouse orchestra conductor. From 1940 until his retirement in the 1970s, he was head of Universal Studios' music department. He received Academy Award nominations for his arrangements for The Glenn Miller Story (1954) and Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). Joseph A. Gershenson also wrote music under the pseudonym Joseph G. Sanford.