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Ray Heindorf

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Title: Ray Heindorf  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Academy Award for Best Original Score, Academy Award for Best Original Musical, Max Steiner, Lennie Hayton, Aaron Copland
Collection: 1908 Births, 1980 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Musicians, 20Th-Century Conductors (Music), 20Th-Century Pianists, American Composers, American Conductors (Music), American Male Composers, American People of German Descent, American Pianists, Best Original Music Score Academy Award Winners, Burials at San Fernando Mission Cemetery, Musicians from New York, People from Haverstraw, New York, People from the Greater Los Angeles Area, Rca Victor Artists, Songwriters from New York
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Ray Heindorf

Ray Heindorf (August 25, 1908 – February 3, 1980) was an American songwriter, composer, conductor, and arranger.


  • Early life 1
  • Hollywood Years 2
  • Academy Awards 3
  • Jazz Recordings 4
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Born in Haverstraw, New York, Heindorf worked as a pianist in a movie house in Mechanicville in his early teens. In 1928, he moved to New York City, where he worked as a musical arranger before heading to Hollywood. He gained his first job as an orchestrator at MGM, where he worked on Hollywood Revue of 1929, and subsequently went on the road playing piano for Lupe Vélez.[1]

Hollywood Years

After completing this engagement, he joined MGM, were jazz aficionados well known in the black entertainment community for employing minority musicians in their studio music departments.[2]

He undertook the musical direction of Judy Garland's 1954 comeback film A Star is Born and made a cameo appearance as himself in the premiere party sequence where Jack Carson's character congratulates him on a great score.

Among Heindorf's other screen credits are Marjorie Morningstar, Damn Yankees, Auntie Mame, Finian's Rainbow, and his final musical for Jack L. Warner, 1776.

Academy Awards

Between 1943 and 1969 he was nominated for eighteen Academy Awards, 17 nominations for Best Score and 1 nomination for Best Song. Heindorf won three, in the category of Best Score of a Musical, for Yankee Doodle Dandy, This is the Army, and The Music Man. His wins for the former two films made him the first to accomplish consecutive wins in a musical category.[3]

Jazz Recordings

Heindorf was a friend and admirer of jazz pianist Art Tatum. He hosted two Tatum piano performances at his Hollywood home in 1950 and 1955 for their mutual friends. Heindorf taped the private concerts, complete with background conversations of Tatum and the group, with some of the pianist's very best playing. These performances are now available on the Verve label.

Personal life

Census records from 1930 show that Heindorf lived with bandleader and composer Arthur Lange, who was nearly 20 years his senior, in the Hollywood Hills.[4]

Heindorf died in Tarzana, California, aged 71, and reputedly was buried with his favorite conducting baton.

Heindorf's son, Michael, was also a film composer.

Heindorf was survived by three children and four grandchildren.[5] His widow, Lorraine, died 2009.[6]


  1. ^ Ray Heindorf at
  2. ^ Clora Bryant & Steven Isoardi (1999), Central Avenue Sounds: Jazz in Los Angeles, University of California Press, p. 68
  3. ^
  4. ^ Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930; Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; roll 134, page 5A, line 13-14 , enumeration district 0065 , Family History film 2339869 . Retrieved on 2014-02-28.
  5. ^
  6. ^

Bio and information supplied by Malcolm James as is Findagrave reference.

External links

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