Frank Churchill

From Wind Repertory Project
Frank Churchill


Frank Churchill (20 October 1901, Rumford, Maine – 14 May 1942, Castaic, Calif.) was an American film composer.

Churchill began his career playing piano in cinemas at the age of 15. After dropping out of medical studies at UCLA to pursue a career in music, he became an accompanist at the Los Angeles radio station KNX (AM) in 1924.

He joined Disney studios in 1930, and scored many animated shorts - his song for The Three Little Pigs, Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, was a huge commercial success. In 1937, he was chosen to score Disney's first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. His catchy, artfully written songs played a large part in the film's initial success and continuing popularity.

Because of the success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Churchill became supervisor of music at Disney, as well as helping write music for movies like The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toadand Peter Pan when those two were in production. He shared credit with Jack Lawrence for the deleted song Never Smile at a Crocodile from Peter Pan. In 1942, Churchill and fellow composer Oliver Wallace won an Oscar in the category "Scoring of a Musical Picture" for cowriting the score for Dumbo. He also shared an Oscar nomination with Ned Washington for the song Baby Mine from Dumbo for Best Song. A year later, Churchill received two posthumous Oscar nominations; the first for cowriting the score to Bambi with Edward Plumb, and the second for cowriting the song Love is a Song from Bambi with lyricist Larry Morey (1905–1971).

Frank Churchill committed suicide on May 14, 1942, at his ranch north of Los Angeles in Castaic.

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