Hans J. Salter

Hans J. Salter (January 14, 1896 in Lviv – July 23, 1994 in Studio City, Cal.) was an Austrian-American film composer.


Salter gained his education from the Vienna Academy of Music, where he studied composition with Alban Berg, Franz Schreker, and others. He worked for the Berlin State Opera before being hired in 1928 to compose music at UFA studios. Salter emigrated to America in 1937 and was quickly put under contract at Universal, where he worked for nearly 30 years, arranging, composing, conducting, and serving as music director.

He composed mainly for Universal, most famously for horror and science fiction films but also for other studios and for television. His most celebrated scores include The Wolf Man (1941), Scarlet Street (1945), Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954) and The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957). Salter was nominated for an Academy Award for several films, including Christmas Holiday (1944) and This Love Of Ours (1945). Much of his output for Universal was uncredited, where it was used as stock music, in minor pictures. Notable non-horror scores include the Western Bend of the River (1953) and the Swashbuckler Against All Flags (1952).

Salter died in Studio City, California on July 23, 1994, at the age of 98, and was interred in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

Selected film credits



  • Hans J. Salter: "Als ich 1937 nach Hollywood kam, lag das Land noch immer in tiefster Depression". In: Christian Cargnelli, Michael Omasta (eds.): Aufbruch ins Ungewisse. Österreichische Filmschaffende in der Emigration vor 1945. Vienna, Wespennest: 1993.

Further reading

  • Matthias Wiegandt, Salter, Hans Julius, Neue Deutsche Biographie (NDB), vol. 22, Berlin: Duncker & Humblot, 2005, ISBN 3-428-11203-2, 398-99,http://daten.digitale-sammlungen.de/0001/bsb00016410/images/index.html?seite=412
  • Cinema’s Exiles: From Hitler to Hollywood. Directed by Karen Thomas. 2007, https://www.pbs.org/wnet/cinemasexiles/.


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