Dave Grusin

Robert David Grusin (born June 26, 1934) is an American composer, arranger, producer, and pianist. He has composed many scores for feature films and television, and has won numerous awards for his soundtrack and record work, including an Academy Award and ten Grammy Awards. He has had a prolific recording career as an artist, arranger, producer and executive producer. He is the co-founder of GRP Records.

Dave Grusin
Grusin in 2008
Background information
Birth nameRobert David Grusin
Born (1934-06-26) June 26, 1934
Littleton, Colorado, United States
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, contemporary jazz
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, producer, arranger, label owner
InstrumentsPiano, keyboards
Years active1962–present
Associated actsLee Ritenour

Early life

Born in Littleton, Colorado, he studied music at the University of Colorado at Boulder and was awarded his degree in 1956.[1] Grusin's mother was a pianist and his father was a violinist from Riga, Latvia.[2][3] He's half Jewish.[4] An alumnus of the University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Music, he was awarded his bachelor's degree in 1956. His teachers included Cecil Effinger and Wayne Scott, pianist, arranger and professor of jazz.[5]


He produced his first single, "Subways Are for Sleeping", in 1962 and his first film score for Divorce American Style (1967). Other scores followed, including Winning (1969), The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), The Midnight Man (1974), and Three Days of the Condor (1975).[1]

In the late 1970s, he started GRP Records with his business partner, Larry Rosen, and began to create some of the first commercial digital recordings. He was the composer for The Graduate, On Golden Pond (1981), Tootsie (1982) and The Goonies (1985). In 1988, he won the Oscar for best original score for The Milagro Beanfield War. He also composed the musical scores for the 1984 TriStar Pictures and the 1993 Columbia Pictures Television logos.[6]

From 1998 to 1999, he was featured on the Billboard's Top 10 Jazz Artists[7] with the numbers going between 5 and 7.[8][9]

From 2000-11, Grusin concentrated on composing classical and jazz compositions, touring and recording with collaborators, including pianist and composer Lorraine Feather[10] and guitarist Lee Ritenour. Their album Harlequin won a Grammy Award in 1985. Their classical crossover albums, Two Worlds and Amparo, were nominated for Grammys.[11][12]

Grusin has a filmography of about 100 titles. His many awards include an Oscar for best original score for The Milagro Beanfield War, as well as Oscar nominations for The Champ, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Firm, Havana, Heaven Can Wait, and On Golden Pond.[13] He also received a Best Original Song nomination for "It Might Be You" from the film Tootsie. Six of the fourteen cuts on the soundtrack from The Graduate are his. Other film scores he has composed include Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?, Three Days of the Condor, The Goonies, Tequila Sunrise, Hope Floats, Random Hearts, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Mulholland Falls and The Firm. He also composed the original opening fanfare for film studio TriStar Pictures.[14]

Grusin composed theme music for the TV programs It Takes a Thief (1968), The Name of the Game (1968), Dan August (1970), The Sandy Duncan Show (1971–72), Maude (1972), Good Times (1974), Baretta (1975), St. Elsewhere (1982), and, for Televisa in Mexico, Tres Generaciones (1987). He also composed music for individual episodes of each of those shows. His other TV credits include The Wild Wild West (1966), The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1966), and Columbo: Prescription: Murder (1968). He also did the theme song for One Life to Live (1968) from 1984–92. Grusin and Larry Rosen founded GRP Records in 1978. In 1994, GRP was in charge of MCA's jazz operations. Founders Grusin and Rosen left in 1995 and were replaced by Tommy LiPuma. In 1997, Grusin and Rosen founded N2K Encoded Music, which was renamed N-Coded Music.[15]

He received honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music in 1988 and University of Colorado, College of Music in 1989. Grusin was initiated into the Beta Chi Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at the University of Colorado in 1991.[16]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Dave Grusin among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[17]

Personal life

Grusin was married to Sara Jane Tallman from 1967 to 1970. Grusin is currently married to Nan Newton.[10] He is the father of music editor Stuart Grusin, music editor and musician Scott Grusin, and aerospace engineer Michael Grusin. He is the stepfather of artist Annie Vought and elder brother of keyboardist Don Grusin and sister Dee Grusin.

Awards and honors

Academy Awards

Grammy Awards

  • Award, Best Arrangement on an Instrumental: "Early A.M. Attitude" (1986), "Suite" for The Milagro Beanfield War (1990), "Bess You Is My Woman/I Loves You Porgy" (1991), "Mood Indigo" (1993), "Three Cowboy Songs" (1994)[18]
  • Award, Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocals: "My Funny Valentine" by Michelle Pfeiffer (1989), "Mean Old Man" by James Taylor (2002)[18]
  • Award, Best Album Original Score Written for Motion Picture or Television: The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989)
  • Nomination, Best Original Score: Selena[18]

Golden Globe Awards

  • Nomination, Best Original Score: The Milagro Beanfield War (1988), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), Havana (1990), For the Boys (1991)[18]



As leader

As sideman

With Patti Austin

With the Brothers Johnson

  • 1976 Look Out for #1
  • 1977 Right on Time

With Tom Browne

  • 1979 Love Approach
  • 1979 Browne Sugar
  • 1981 Magic

With Don Grusin

  • 1981 10k-LA
  • 1993 Native Land
  • 2004 The Hang

With Quincy Jones

  • 1973 You've Got It Bad Girl
  • 1974 Body Heat
  • 1975 Mellow Madness
  • 1976 I Heard That!
  • 1977 Roots (A&M, 1977)

With John Klemmer

  • 1975 Touch
  • 1976 Barefoot Ballet

With Earl Klugh

  • 1976 Earl Klugh
  • 1976 Living Inside Your Love
  • 1978 Finger Paintings

With Jon Lucien

  • 1973 Rashida
  • 1974 Mind's Eye
  • 1975 Song for My Lady

With Harvey Mason

  • 1976 Marching in the Street
  • 1977 Funk in a Mason Jar
  • 2003 With All My Heart

With Carmen McRae

With Sergio Mendes

  • 1976 Homecooking
  • 1977 Sergio Mendes & the New Brasil '77

With Lee Ritenour

  • 1976 First Course
  • 1977 Captain Fingers
  • 1977 Gentle Thoughts
  • 1978 Friendship
  • 1978 The Captain's Journey
  • 1979 Feel the Night
  • 1979 Rio
  • 1983 On the Line
  • 1986 Earth Run
  • 1988 Festival
  • 2005 Overtime
  • 2005 World of Brazil
  • 2006 Smoke 'N' Mirrors
  • 2012 Rhythm Sessions
  • 2015 A Twist of Rit

With Dave Valentin

  • 1979 Legends
  • 1980 The Hawk
  • 1984 Kalahari
  • 1990 Flute Juice

With Sadao Watanabe

  • 1977 My Dear Life
  • 1978 California Shower
  • 1979 Morning Island
  • 1980 How's Everything

With others


Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
1967Divorce American StyleBud YorkinColumbia Pictures
Waterhole No. 3William A. GrahamParamount Pictures
The GraduateMike NicholsEmbassy Pictures
1968A Man Called GannonJames GoldstoneUniversal Pictures
Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?Hy AverbackUnited Artists
The Heart Is a Lonely HunterRobert Ellis MillerWarner Bros.
CandyChristian MarquandABC Pictures
1969WinningJames GoldstoneUniversal Pictures
Tell Them Willie Boy Is HereAbraham PolonskyUniversal Pictures
1970Halls of AngerPaul BogartUnited Artists
Adam at 6 A.M.Robert ScheererCinema Center Films
1971The Pursuit of HappinessRobert MulliganColumbia Pictures
Shoot OutHenry HathawayUniversal Pictures
A Howling in the WoodsDaniel PetrieNBC
Universal Television
Television film
The Gang That Couldn't Shoot StraightJames GoldstoneMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1972The Great Northfield Minnesota RaidPhilip KaufmanUniversal Pictures
FuzzRichard A. CollaUnited Artists
1973Amanda FallonJack LairdNBC
Universal Television
Television film
The Friends of Eddie CoylePeter YatesParamount Pictures
1974The Nickel RideRobert Mulligan20th Century Fox
The Midnight ManRoland Kibbee
Burt Lancaster
Universal Pictures
The YakuzaSydney PollackWarner Bros.
1975W.W. and the Dixie DancekingsJohn G. Avildsen20th Century Fox
Three Days of the CondorSydney PollackParamount Pictures
1976Murder by DeathRobert MooreColumbia Pictures
The FrontMartin RittColumbia Pictures
1977Mr. BillionJonathan Kaplan20th Century Fox
Fire SaleAlan Arkin20th Century Fox
The Goodbye GirlHerbert RossWarner Bros.
Bobby DeerfieldSydney PollackColumbia Pictures
1978Heaven Can WaitWarren Beatty
Buck Henry
Paramount Picturesnominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
1979The ChampFranco ZeffirelliMetro-Goldwyn-Mayernominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
...And Justice for All.Norman JewisonColumbia Pictures
The Electric HorsemanSydney PollackColumbia Pictures
1980My BodyguardTony Bill20th Century Fox
1981On Golden PondMark RydellITC Entertainmentnominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
RedsWarren BeattyParamount Pictures
Absence of MaliceSydney PollackColumbia Pictures
1982Author! Author!Arthur Hiller20th Century Fox
TootsieSydney PollackColumbia Picturesnominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
1984Racing with the MoonRichard BenjaminParamount Pictures
The Little Drummer GirlGeorge Roy HillWarner Bros.
Falling in LoveUlu GrosbardParamount Pictures
1985The GooniesRichard DonnerWarner Bros.
1986LucasDavid Seltzer20th Century Fox
1987IshtarElaine MayColumbia Pictureswith Bahjawa and Paul Williams
1988The Milagro Beanfield WarRobert RedfordUniversal Pictureswinner of the Academy Award for Best Original Score
Clara's HeartRobert MulliganWarner Bros.
Tequila SunriseRobert TowneWarner Bros.
1989A Dry White SeasonEuzhan PalcyMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
The Fabulous Baker BoysSteve Kloves20th Century Foxnominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
1990HavanaSydney PollackUniversal Picturesnominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
The Bonfire of the VanitiesBrian De PalmaWarner Bros.
1991For the BoysMark Rydell20th Century Fox
1993The FirmSydney PollackParamount Picturesnominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
1995The CurePeter HortonUniversal Pictures
1996Mulholland FallsLee TamahoriMetro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1997SelenaGregory NavaWarner Bros.
In the GloamingChristopher ReeveHBOTelevision film
1998Hope FloatsForest Whitaker20th Century Fox
1999Random HeartsSydney PollackColumbia Pictures
2001Dinner with FriendsNorman JewisonHBOTelevision film
2006Even MoneyMark RydellYari Film Group
2008RecountJay RoachHBOTelevision film
2010HarmonyStuart Sender
Julie Bergman Sender
NBCTelevision film
2013Skating to New YorkCharles MinskyWell Go USA Entertainment

See also


  1. "The Dave Grusin manuscripts An inventory of holdings at the American Music Research Center" (PDF). American Music Research Center. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  2. "Dave Grusin Page". Soul Walking. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  3. "Dave Grusin Biography". Film Reference. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  4. High Fidelity, vol. 27, n° 7-12, p. 27.
  5. "Cecil Effinger Interview with Bruce Duffie". Bruce Duffie. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  6. "Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen. Behind the scenes, they're ahead of their times". Billboard. Vol. 91 no. 42. October 20, 1979.
  7. "Billboard Dec 26, 1998 - Jan 2, 1999". Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 52. p. 27.
  8. "Top Jazz Artists and Albums". Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 26. June 27, 1998. p. 44.
  9. "Billboard Dec 27, 1997 - Jan 3, 1998". Billboard. Vol. 110 no. 26. June 27, 1998. p. YD-68.
  10. Kaufman, Joanne (March 2, 2018). "When Your Home Has a History". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  11. Daniels, Melissa (June 20, 2008). "Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin to Return with 'Amparo'". JazzTimes. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  12. Soergel, Brian (October 1, 2008). "Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin: Amparo". JazzTimes. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  13. On Golden Pond (Main Theme) Sheet Music. ISBN 978-1-4950-4316-1.
  14. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2014.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  15. "The Dave Grusin manuscripts An inventory of holdings at the American Music Research Center" (PDF). American Music Research Center. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  16. "Charles E. Lutton Man of Music". Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  17. Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  18. "Dave Grusin". Grammys. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  19. "The Key is Versatility". Billboard. Vol. 74 no. 48. December 1, 1962. p. 47.
  20. "Dave Grusin | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  21. "Dave Grusin | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
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