Alfred was the first of several musical success stories within the Newman family. His brother, Lionel, got his start in music on the vaudeville circuit, most notably accompanying Mae West in the 1930s.
Following in Alfred’s footsteps, Lionel found success in film as a composer and conductor. One of his biggest fans was actress Marilyn Monroe. He became the actress’ favorite conductor and collaborated with Monroe on many of her films, including Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Let’s Make Love.
In the late 1950s, Lionel Newman was named director of television music at Fox. During this period, Newman hired John Williams to write the theme music to the 1960s science fiction TV series “Lost in Space.” Williams would later go on to score music for some of the biggest blockbusters of all time, including Jaws and the Star Wars films.
Appropriately, the newly remodeled facility was renamed the Newman Scoring Stage as a tribute to the Newman musical legacy.
That legacy began with the influential work of the late Alfred Newman. A prolific composer with over 250 film credits to his name and an astounding 45 Academy Award® nominations – nine of which he won – Newman pioneered the art of film scoring in the 1930s.
Answering a request from Irving Berlin to be musical director for the United Artists film Reaching for the Moon, Newman left his home in New Haven, Connecticut, and arrived in Hollywood in 1930. More work followed, and in 1935 Newman created the memorable 20th Century Fox fanfare music that is still used today.
While older brother Alfred worked at Fox for 20 years, Lionel Newman’s tenure at Fox spanned a remarkable 46-year period, during which time he received eleven Oscar® nominations – winning the Academy Award® in 1969 for his work on the musical Hello, Dolly!
Alfred’s younger brother, Emil Newman, was also an accomplished conductor and composer in film who contributed to nephew Randy Newman’s early pop records.
Today a younger generation of the Newman family continues to contribute to the musical heritage established seventy years ago. Maria Newman has found success as a studio violinist in the film industry, as a classical violinist and an accomplished classical composer of concert works and children’s musical tales.
The continued success of Randy Newman (Toy Story), Thomas Newman (The Shawshank Redemption) and David Newman (The Nutty Professor) in the world of film scoring – not to mention the enduring legacy of the Newman Scoring Stage – ensures that the Newman name will continue to represent a musical tradition of excellence in film.
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The scoring stage has gone through two major renovations since its inception: the first in the mid-1970s and the second in the early 1990s.
At a cost of $4 million, the stage reopened after its second renovation in 1997 with an enlarged control room and state-of-the-art recording equipment to meet current technology standards. The main floor where the orchestra plays was restored to its original size of 7,500 square feet. The structure of the room, which included the hardwood floors and even the interior walls put up by Alfred himself, was left mostly untouched so as to retain the unique acoustic qualities that have made the room special to so many composers.
By John Burke
Widely acknowledged as one of the most important historical landmarks of the Hollywood motion picture industry, the Newman Scoring Stage has a long and distinguished history that spans the course of several decades. Originally used as a shooting stage for Fox Movietone Pictures in the 1920s, the facility became a scoring stage for film music in 1936. Since then, the venue has been associated with some of the most memorable film music ever recorded.
From the landmark sessions with Julie Andrews recording the classic songs from The Sound of Music and Marilyn Monroe’s performance of “Heat Wave,” to recent sessions for such films as The Matrix; Austin Powers:The Spy Who Shagged Me and Planet of the Apes, the Newman Scoring Stage has maintained a tradition and standard in the world of Hollywood film scoring that has had a lasting influence on the art of the motion picture.
more info about the Newman Scoring Stage at Fox,
out Alfred and Lionel Newman's extensive filmographies: