Randy Newman

Randy Newman
Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times


Randy Newman
Film: North side of the 6600 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Composer | Songwriter
Born Randall Stuart Newman on Nov. 28, 1943 in Los Angeles, CA

Randy Newman was born into a musical Hollywood family: Three of his uncles were noted film composers (Alfred Newman, Lionel Newman and Emil Newman) and two of Newman’s cousins (Thomas Newman and David Newman) and his nephew, Joey, joined him in careers as film composers. Newman’s mother was a secretary and his father was a doctor.

Newman got his start as a singer-songwriter in the 1960s, composing songs for the O’Jays and Gene Pitney, among others, and performing with a band called the Tikis. He left the band and released his first solo album, “Randy Newman,” in 1968. But it wasn’t until his 1974 album “Good Old Boys” that he achieved commercial success.

Newman’s biggest hit song, “Short People,” was released in 1977 and became the center of a controversy due to the lyrics, which were intended as an ironic depiction of prejudice against little people. Many felt the song encouraged bigotry against the short. Years later, Newman’s hit single “I Love L.A.” also was a subject of debate. Some felt the song skewered the City of Angels. At the same time, it was embraced as the victory song of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 1971, Newman began composing film scores. His second film score, for “Ragtime,” earned him two Academy Award nominations. Newman had 15 Oscar nominations without a single win (a record) when he won in 2001 for best original song for “If I Didn’t Have You” from “Monsters, Inc.” He has also won two Emmys and four Grammys.

Newman has notably composed the music and songs for several Pixar films including “Toy Story,” “Toy Story 2,” “Toy Story 3,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Monsters, Inc.” and “Cars.”

In the early 1990s, Newman turned to musical theater and wrote a musical version of “Faust,” which was performed in San Diego and Chicago and was released as an album featuring James Taylor as God and Don Henley, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt and Linda Ronstadt as supporting characters. A musical based on his life and songs, “The Education of Randy Newman,” had its debut at South Coast Repertory in 2000.

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1981 Best Original Song "One More Hour" from Ragtime Nomination
    1981 Best Original Score Ragtime Nomination
    1984 Best Original Score The Natural Nomination
    1989 Best Original Song "I Love To See You Smile" from Parenthood Nomination
    1990 Best Original Score Avalon Nomination
    1994 Best Original Song "Make Up Your Mind" from The Paper Nomination
    1995 Best Original Song "You've Got a Friend in Me" from Toy Story Nomination
    1995 Best Original Musical or Comedy Score Toy Story Nomination
    1996 Best Original Musical or Comedy Score James and the Giant Peach Nomination
    1998 Best Original Musical or Comedy Score "A Bug's Life" Nomination
    1998 Best Original Dramatic Score Pleasantville Nomination
    1998 Best Original Song "That'll Do" from Babe: Pig in the City Nomination
    1999 Best Original Song "When She Loved Me" from Toy Story 2 Nomination
    2000 Best Original Song "A Fool in Love" from Meet the Parents Nomination
    2001 Best Original Song "If I Didn't Have You" from Monsters, Inc. Win
    2001 Best Original Score "Monsters, Inc." Nomination
    2006 Best Original Song "Our Town" from Cars Nomination
    2009 Best Original Song "Almost There" from The Princess and the Frog Nomination
    2009 Best Original Song "Down in New Orleans" from The Princess and the Frog Nomination
    2010 Best Original Song "We Belong Together" from Toy Story 3 Nomination

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