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David Raksin
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    (August 4, 1912-August 9, 2004)
    Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Best known for composing the theme for 'Laura' (1944)
    Received Oscar nominations for 'Forever Amber' (1947) and 'Seperate Tables' (1958)
    Also composed scores for 'The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' (1939), 'The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle' (1939), 'Fallen Angel' (1945), 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' (1947), 'Force of Evil' (1948), 'The Bad and the Beautiful' (1952), 'Pat and Mike' (1952), 'Will Penny' (1968), and 'The Day After' (1983)
    Over 100 film scores and 300 television scores to his credit
    Later taught at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
    His surname is sometimes misspelled 'Raskin.'
    He was repeatedly fired and/or denied writing credits for clashing with his films' directors.
    He is overshadowed by his (more commercially successful) mentor Alfred Newman.
    Vincente Minnelli disliked his 'Love is for the Very Young' theme for 'Bad and the Beautiful,' and was kept from discarding it only at the insistence of Adolph Green and Betty Comden.
    He insisted that 'Love is for the Very Young' be released as an instrumental because he had resented having to split the proceeds from 'Laura' with Johnny Mercer.
    He testified before the House Un-American Activities Committee, admitting to having belonged to the Communist party in the late thirties.
    He avoided the Hollywood blacklist, however, by naming names; identifying eleven 'fellow members' (albeit taking care to name only those who were dead or already known to HUAC).
    He was affectionately known as 'The Grandfather of Film Music.'
    His first assignment was as a musical arranger for Charlie Chaplin's 'Modern Times.'
    He started out playing for the orchestras of Benny Goodman and George Gershwin (the latter whom after his friend Oscar Levant introduced the two).
    Stephen Sondheim cited his 'Bad and Beautiful' score as 'one of the best themes ever written in films.'
    He had the business acumen to capitalize on the popularity of the 'Laura' theme; penning lyrics for it and rereleasing it as a 'pop song.'
    Recorded by over 400 artists, 'Laura' was once the second most-recorded song in history, after Hoagy Carmichael's 'Stardust.'
    Cole Porter reportedly told him that 'Laura' was the one song he wished he had written (it was also a known favorite in Frank Sinatra's repertoire).
    He talked Otto Preminger out of opening the 'Laura' film with either 'Summertime' or Duke Ellington's 'Sophisticated Lady,' reasoning that using a well-known melody would only invite the audience to bring preconceived emotions associated with the song, rather than the film itself.
    He was awarded the Golden Soundtrack Award by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (1992).

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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