Nelson Riddle

Nelson Riddle
Los Angeles Times


Nelson Riddle
Music: South side of the 6700 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Arranger | Composer | Conductor
Born June 1, 1921 in Hackensack, NJ
Died Oct. 6, 1985 of cardiac and kidney failure in Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Calif.

Nelson Riddle was a composer-conductor famed for his lush arrangements of songs for singers such as Judy Garland, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra, and for his "Theme From Route 66."

In 1974, Riddle won an Oscar for music adaptation for the score of the film "The Great Gatsby," based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. He also won three Grammys, the first in 1958 for "Cross-Country Suite," and the other two for his work on Linda Ronstadt albums.

Although he became a staff arranger for NBC in Hollywood in the late 1940s and music director of Capitol Records during the 1950s, he first became prominent during the 1950s from his freelance arranging-conducting on record sessions, especially for Sinatra and Cole.

Among the most famous works he arranged was Cole's ballad single, "Mona Lisa," and Sinatra's 1958 album, "Only the Lonely."

He composed the scores for movies such as "St. Louis Blues" (1958); "Come Blow Your Horn" (1962); "Paint Your Wagon" (1969) and "The Great Gatsby" (1974).

Riddle was the arranger-conductor of Ronstadt's "What's New" and "Lush Life" albums of richly orchestrated old standards.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1959 Best Scoring of a Musical Picture Li'l Abner Nomination*
    1960 Best Scoring of a Musical Picture Can-Can Nomination
    1964 Best Adapted Score Robin and the 7 Hoods Nomination
    1969 Best Score of a Musical Picture Paint Your Wagon Nomination
    1974 Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation The Great Gatsby Win
    * A joint nomination shared with other people.

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