Lionel Newman

Lionel Newman (January 4, 1916 – February 3, 1989) was an American conductor, pianist, and film and television composer.[1] He won the Academy Award for Best Score of a Musical Picture for Hello Dolly! with Lennie Hayton in 1969.[1] He is the brother of Alfred Newman and Emil Newman, uncle of composers Randy Newman, David Newman, Thomas Newman, Maria Newman, and grandfather of Joey Newman. His 11 nominations contribute to the Newmans being the most nominated Academy Award extended family, with a collective 92 nominations in various music categories.

Lionel Newman
Born(1916-01-04)January 4, 1916
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedFebruary 3, 1989(1989-02-03) (aged 73)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Composer, pianist, conductor
Years active1932–1985


Early life

Born in New Haven, Connecticut, United States,[2] Newman was one of ten children, the youngest of seven boys, born to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents.[3] While the family had little money, the children's mother, Luba, was a strong woman who encouraged them to achieve. Newman migrated to Hollywood where, at the age of 16, he began conducting for impresario Earl Carroll.[1] This was where he met his future wife, Beverly Carroll, an Earl Carroll Vanities showgirl, and niece of the impresario. Newman had formal training in New York, and after moving to Los Angeles, he continued his studies with Joseph Achron and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

In the 1930s, Newman earned his stripes conducting national tours and working as the piano accompanist for Mae West.[1] She used to scold him for holding his hands too high in the pit saying, "I'm the show, Newman, not you."

At the age of 18, he obtained a job playing piano on the Holland America ocean liner, the S.S.Rotterdam, with his "Newman's Society Orchestra". This trip had great significance for him, as he had always wanted to make another such trip to find his mother's home.

Career at 20th Century Fox

After serving an apprenticeship conducting and orchestrating live shows, Newman joined 20th Century Fox as a rehearsal pianist under the guidance of his brother, Alfred Newman,[1] and by 1959, he had been promoted to Musical Director for Television there. This opened the doors to feature films. He was soon made vice president in charge of music for both television and features. This resulted in a promotion in 1982 to senior vice president of all music for Twentieth Century Fox Films.[1] He wrote several classic TV themes for Fox, including The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, Adventures in Paradise, and Daniel Boone.

Lionel Newman's tenure with Twentieth Century Fox spanned 46 years with over 200 films to his credit, including How to Marry a Millionaire, North To Alaska, The Proud Ones, Road House, and Love Me Tender (Elvis Presley's first picture). He was musical director for all of Marilyn Monroe's films at Fox, in accordance with her request, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, There's No Business Like Show Business, River of No Return, and Let's Make Love, with the exception of Bus Stop which was directed and conducted by his brother, Alfred Newman and There's No Business Like Show Business which was co-directed and co-conducted by Alfred Newman.

In November 2013, the Twentieth Century Fox Music Department was dedicated as “The Lionel Newman Music Building,” and a bronze plaque of Lionel, listing his composition and conducting credits was unveiled. Speaking to guests about Lionel's impact on film and television music, who he was as a friend, mentor and boss, and who he was as a family man were Steven Spielberg, John Williams, Lionel’s nephew, composer Randy Newman, and his grandson, Joey Newman. The dedication was attended by several hundred people, including his family beyond Randy and Joey.

Awards and nominations

He received eleven Academy Award nominations, and won an Oscar for Hello Dolly! with Lennie Hayton in 1969.[1] He conducted the scores for Cleopatra, The Sand Pebbles, The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Long Hot Summer, The Young Lions, Alien, and The Omen. He was the musical supervisor for Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, Monsignor, and The Fury. Although he did not consider himself a songwriter, he received a certificate of merit from Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI) for over one million network performances of his 1948 hit, "Again", a pop standard that lived on long after its introduction in the film Road House.[1]

Work with other composers

Newman's wit and humor were famous around the film capital. Frank Sinatra, in his biography, called Newman one of the funniest men in Hollywood. Jerry Goldsmith recalls in his biography how Newman used to call him "Gorgeous". Goldsmith also recounts that Newman nicknamed John Williams "Little Dimitri", after Dimitri Tiomkin.

Newman was a perfectionist, always making "just one more take" if some little detail could be improved. He wanted the Twentieth Century Fox Orchestra to reach the level of a great symphony orchestra, and it did, especially when he conducted. He was instrumental in the careers of John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, Dominic Frontiere, Pat Williams, and many more.

Personal life

Newman was married to Beverly Carroll, who died October 21, 2010, and with whom he had three daughters. Carroll Newman, Producer, is married to Emmy Award Winning Actor and Writer Gary Frank and they have one daughter Jessica Marli Frank, who is a Producer at Tumblr; Deborah Newman Sharpe, VP, Sharpe and Associates, is married to Robert Sharpe, Owner, Sharpe and Associates located in Tucson, AZ. They have three children; Sarah Newman (Independent Casting Director), Jennifer Newman Sharpe, Esq. (Law Offices of Jennifer Newman Sharpe NYC), Jeremy Sharpe, Community Liaison Rancho Sahuarita, AZ; and Jenifer Newman, a former professional ballet dancer and current Core Fusion teacher/National Trainer with Exhale Spa. She has one son, Joey Newman, a film and television composer/conductor married to Jerelyn Newman, Founder and Artistic Director of Westside Children's Theatre. They have three daughters, Ella, Ava and Leah.

Later life

During the last few years of his tenure at Fox, Newman conducted major symphony orchestras in the United States, Canada, the UK, and New Zealand. Newman retired in 1985 and died on February 3, 1989 from cardiac arrest.[2]


Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
1943He Hired the BossThomas Z. Loring20th Century Foxuncredited
1950The JackpotWalter Lang20th Century FoxN/A
1953The Silver WhipHarmon Jones20th Century Foxuncredited
Powder RiverLouis King20th Century FoxN/A
Gentlemen Prefer BlondesHoward Hawks20th Century Foxuncredited
1954Siege at Red RiverRudolph Maté20th Century FoxN/A
Princess of the NileHarmon Jones20th Century Foxuncredited
The Gambler from NatchezHenry Levin20th Century FoxN/A
There's No Business Like Show BusinessWalter Lang20th Century Foxuncredited
1956The Killer Is LooseBudd BoetticherUnited ArtistsN/A
The Proud OnesRobert D. Webb20th Century FoxN/A
A Kiss Before DyingGerd OswaldUnited ArtistsN/A
The Last WagonDelmer Daves20th Century FoxN/A
Love Me TenderRobert D. Webb20th Century FoxN/A
The Girl Can't Help ItFrank Tashlin20th Century Foxuncredited
1957The Way to the GoldRobert D. Webb20th Century FoxN/A
BernardineHenry Levin20th Century FoxN/A
Kiss Them for MeStanley Donen20th Century FoxN/A
1958Sing, Boy, SingHenry Ephron20th Century FoxN/A
The BravadosHenry King20th Century FoxN/A
Mardi GrasEdmund Goulding20th Century Foxuncredited
1959CompulsionRichard Fleischer20th Century FoxN/A
Say One for MeFrank Tashlin20th Century Foxuncredited
1960Let's Make LoveGeorge Cukor20th Century FoxN/A
North to AlaskaHenry Hathaway20th Century FoxN/A
1963Move Over, DarlingMichael Gordon20th Century FoxN/A
1964The Pleasure SeekersJean Negulesco20th Century FoxN/A
1965Do Not DisturbRalph Levy
George Marshall
20th Century FoxN/A
1967The St. Valentine's Day MassacreRoger Corman20th Century Foxuncredited
1968The Boston StranglerRichard Fleischer20th Century FoxN/A
1969Desperate MissionEarl Bellamy20th Century FoxN/A

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Film Other notes
1939 Academy Award Nominated Best Music, Original Song The Cowboy and the Lady Shared with Arthur Quenzer; for the song "The Cowboy and the Lady"
1951 Nominated Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture I'll Get By
1952 Nominated Best Music, Original Song Golden Girl Shared with Eliot Daniel; for the song "Never"
1955 Nominated Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture There's No Business Like Show Business Shared with Alfred Newman
1957 Nominated Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture The Best Things in Life Are Free
1959 Nominated Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture Mardi Gras
1960 Nominated Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture Say One for Me
1961 Nominated Best Music, Scoring of a Musical Picture Let's Make Love Shared with Earle Hagen
1966 Nominated Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment The Pleasure Seekers Shared with Alexander Courage
1968 Nominated Best Music, Scoring of Music, Adaptation or Treatment Doctor Dolittle Shared with Alexander Courage
1969 Won

Best Music, Score of a Musical Picture (Original or Adaptation) Hello, Dolly! Shared with Lennie Hayton
1958 Laurel Awards Nominated Top Music Director April Love Place 4th


  1. Colin Larkin, ed. (2002). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Fifties Music (Third ed.). Virgin Books. pp. 307/8. ISBN 1-85227-937-0.
  2. "Lionel Newman Biography (1916-1989)". Retrieved 2008-08-28.
  3. MacDonald, Laurence E. The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History, Scarecrow Press (2013)
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