'Star Wars' Musical Supervisor Lionel Newman

Building 222 at 20th Century-Fox will be named after longtime Fox music executive Lionel Newman at a dedication ceremony on Nov. 21 at the Pico lot.

Composer John Williams, who worked with Newman during the 1960s and 1970s — first on such TV series as “Lost in Space,” later on the early “Star Wars” films — will speak at the ceremony. Other members of the Newman family, including singer-songwriter Randy Newman (Lionel’s nephew) and TV composer Joey Newman (his grandson), are expected to attend.

The building has housed the studio’s music-department administrative offices for many years, including Lionel’s own office and one for Williams when he was regularly composing for the studio (“The Poseidon Adventure,” “Star Wars”).

Newman worked at Fox for more than 40 years, beginning as a rehearsal pianist in 1943 when his older brother Alfred was the studio’s general music director. He went on to compose, conduct or supervise more than 250 scores at Fox until his retirement in 1985.

As a songwriter, he had a huge hit in “Again” (from 1949’s “Road House”), which generated six top-10 records for singers including Doris Day and Mel Torme. He was nominated 11 times for Oscars, either as a songwriter or for overseeing the scoring of musicals, and won in 1969 for his work on “Hello, Dolly!”

At Fox, he was promoted to head of TV music in 1959 and to general music director of the studio in 1963. He was promoted to VP of music in 1977 and to senior VP in 1982.

Newman was well-known as Marilyn Monroe’s favorite music director, working closely with her on several films including “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Let’s Make Love.”

His dramatic film scores included “The Proud Ones,” “Love Me Tender,” “Compulsion” and “The Boston Strangler”; he also composed several popular TV themes, including “Dobie Gillis,” “Daniel Boone” and “Adventures in Paradise.”

He came out of retirement in 1988 to become senior VP of music for MGM-UA. He died in February 1989.


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