33¢ Franz Waxman
Issue Date: September 16, 1999
City: Los Angeles, CA
Printed By: Sterling Sommer for Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Franz Waxman (1906-1967) composed the scores for 144 films during his 32 years as a Hollywood songwriter. Born in Germany, Waxman began his career as a banker because his father didn’t believe he could make a living as a musician. But he continued to study piano, harmony, and composition, and within a few years left the bank to pursue music as his profession.
Waxman played with the Weintraub Syncopaters, a popular jazz band, in the 1920s. This led him to orchestrate several early German films. The first U.S. film Waxman contributed to was Jerome Kern’s “Music in the Air” (1934). His first original Hollywood score was “The Bride of Frankenstein” (1935). His work on this movie earned Waxman a two-year contract with Universal as head of the studio’s music department.
After Universal, Waxman went on to compose songs for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer films. His music can be heard in the Spencer Tracy movies “Captains Courageous,” “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” and “Woman of the Year.” In 1943 he moved to Warner Bros.
“Sunset Boulevard” earned Waxman an Academy Award in 1950. He won an Oscar again in 1951 for “A Place in the Sun,” making him the only composer to win an Academy Award for best film score two years in a row.