Meredith Willson Biography (1902-1984)

Born May 18, 1902, in Mason City, IA; died June 15, 1984, in Santa Monica, CA; son of John David and Rosalie (Reiniger) Willson; married Elizabeth Wilson,August 29, 1920 (divorced, March 5, 1948); married Ralina "Rina" Zarova, March 13, 1948 (died, December 6, 1966); married Rosemary Sullivan (died, February 14, 1968). Career: Musician, conductor, composer, and writer. Played piccolo and flute with John Philip Sousa's band, 1921-23; New York Philharmonic Orchestra, New York City, musician, 1924-29; Seattle Symphony Orchestra,Seattle, WA, conductor, 1929; American Broadcasting System in the North West, musical director, 1929-30; National Broadcasting Company, San Francisco, CA, musical director of Western Division, 1932; KFRC, San Francisco, CA, concert director. Also toured the United States as a conductor. Military service: U.S. Army, head of Music Division of Armed Forces Radio Service, 1942;became major. Awards, Honors: Academy Award nomination, best originalscore, 1940, for The Great Dictator; Academy Award nomination, best scoring of a dramatic picture, 1941, for The Little Foxes; Antoinette Perry Awards, best musical, best author of a musical (with Franklin Lacey), andbest composer and lyricist, New York Drama Critics Circle Award, best new musical, and Grammy Award, composer of best original cast album for Broadway ortelevision, all 1958, for The Music Man; Grammy Award nomination, composer of best original cast album for Broadway or television, 1960, for The Unsinkable Molly Brown; Academy Award nomination, best picture, 1962, for The Music Man; Grammy Award nomination, composer of best original cast album for Broadway or television, 1963, for Here's Love; posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom, 1987; Meredith Willson Residence Hall at theJuilliard School named in his honor.

Musician, conductor, composer, writer
Birth Details
May 18, 1902
Mason City, Iowa, United States
Death Details
June 15, 1984
Santa Monica, California, United States

Famous Works

Further Reference

Obituaries and Other Sources


Other articles you might like:

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: