John Williams is a famous composer whose music has been featured in many well-known films. Learn facts about him, including his net worth, here.
John Williams: Biography of the composer
John Williams is a famous and critically acclaimed musician-composer who has created the musical scores for many well-known films, including Star Wars, Schindler’s List and Jaws. John Williams was born on February 8, 1932 in Floral Park, New York. He is the son of Esther and Johnny Williams. John’s father Johnny was a jazz percussionist from Maine who played with the Raymond Scott Quintet. His mother was from Boston. He has two brothers, Donald and Jerry, who are both percussionists in the Los Angeles area. In 1948, John Williams and his family moved to Los Angeles, California. There, John attended North Hollywood High School, from which he graduated in 1950. For college, he attended the University of California in Los Angeles. He also studied privately with the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. In 1952, John Williams was drafted into the U.S. Air Force. During his time there, he conducted and arranged music for The U.S. Air Force Band. Following his release from Air Force service in 1955, John Williams moved to New York City and entered the Juilliard School, studying piano with Rosina Lhévinne. At this time, John Williams also held several gigs as a jazz pianist in some of the city’s many jazz clubs. After completing his studies at Juilliard, John Williams returned to Los Angeles and began working as an orchestrator at film studios. This got him into the world of composing scores for films, which is ultimately what would earn him fame, recognition and many awards for his work in the industry.
John Williams, above, has won Grammy Awards for Best Instrumental Composition for his scores for Star Wars, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Superman, The Empire Strikes Back, E.T. the Extra‑Terrestrial, Angela’s Ashes, Munich, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and The Book Thief.
John Williams: Career
John Williams career has a composer has spanned over six decades. During that time, he has been nominated for over 150 awards, of which he has won 5 Academy Awards, 3 Emmy Awards, 4 Golden Globe Awards, 23 Grammy Awards and 7 British Academy Film Awards. John Williams has composed musical scores for over 100 well known films, including Schindler’s List, Jaws, Star Wars, E.T. the Extra‑Terrestrial, Superman, Lincoln, Memoirs of a Geisha and many more. His musical style has been described as a form of neoromanticism, inspired by the likes Tchaikovsky or Richard Wagner. John Williams career really kicked off in the early 1970s, thanks to his work for now–film producer Irwin Allen. He composed the scores for his disaster films The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno. These projects, in addition with his score for Earthquake in 1974 earned him much recognition as these were all high grossing disaster films. This got him on director Steven Spielberg’s radar. In 1974, Steven Spielberg approached John to compose the music for his directorial debut, The Sugarland Express. They later teamed up for Spielberg’s second film, Jaws. Spielberg and Williams would continue their work together over a long collaboration for their next feature film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. It was during this time that Steven Spielberg recommended Williams to his friend and fellow director George Lucas and John Williams was given the opportunity to write the score for Star Wars, which is perhaps the score he is most famous for.
John Williams: Facts, net worth and personal life
Here are some more fun facts to know about John Williams: In 1980, John Williams received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Boston College in 1993 and another from Harvard University in 2017. John Williams has been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. John Williams was honored with the annual Richard Kirk award at the 1999 BMI Film and TV Awards for his contribution to film and television music. In 2003, the International Olympic Committee accorded John Williams with the Olympic Order, its highest individual honor. In 2009, Williams received the National Medal of Arts in the White House in Washington, D.C. for his achievements in symphonic music for films. John Williams was made an honorary brother of Kappa Kappa Psi at Boston University in the late 1980s. In 2013, Williams was presented with the Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award. John Williams’ net worth is reported to be around $100 million. He has earned that net worth over a lifetime of success in the film industry. John Williams was married to Barbara Ruick, an American actress and singer, in 1956. They have three children, together – Jennifer, Mark Towner Williams and Joseph, who is the lead singer of the band Toto. The couple was married until Barbara’s death in 1974. Then, in 1980, John Williams re-married to Samantha Winslow, a photographer.
John Williams: In conclusion
John Williams is a brilliant and talented musical composer. The film industry would not have been the same without him shaping the music that goes into it.