John Williams
American composer
John Williams
John Towner Williams is an American composer, conductor, and pianist. In a career spanning almost six decades, he has composed some of the most recognizable film scores in the history of motion pictures, including the Star Wars saga, Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones films, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Hook, Jurassic Park, Schindler's List, War Horse, Home Alone and the first three Harry Potter films.
Biography
John Williams's personal information overview.
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News
News abour John Williams from around the web
Thoreau is Alive (and Crankier Than Ever) on His 200th Birthday
Huffington Post - 23 days
In a recent piece in the Book Review section of The New York Times ("Celebrating Two Centuries of Thoreau") John Williams reminds us that "if the air at Walden had been really, really health-giving" Henry David Thoreau would be turning 200 in 2017. If you're at all like me, you include Thoreau with the most original writers of his time, and in fact, of just about any era. Rarely a day passes when I don't wish he were around to offer some perspective on the endless stream of gadgets, apps, and social media sites that, increasingly, dominate our lives. So, in honor of HDT's Bicentennial birthday, I've asked a respected local psychic to bring him back from the beyond just long enough to take part in a special prototype test of a much anticipated new high-tech device called the PodPad. Below is a transcript of what he had to say to the manufacturer... * * * Make yourself comfortable, Mr. Thoreau. Some green tea? An organic protein bar? Given the demands of your cabin a ...
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Huffington Post article
John Williams Has Never Seen 'Star Wars,' Doesn't Think Much Of His Scores
Huffington Post - about 2 months
Some musical compositions were simply destined to live forever in the cultural conversation: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony. The “Happy Birthday” song. Beyoncé’s entire catalog. And, of course, composer John Williams’ score to the “Star Wars” films, which are just as iconic and recognizable as that opening prelude scroll into outer space.  At least one person, however, doesn’t agree with that conclusion: Williams himself, who told The Mirror that he doesn’t find the “Star Wars” theme orchestrations to be particularly noteworthy. “A lot of them ​are ​not very memorable,” he said. “I’m a composer of music,” he explained, “and I look at Mozart and I look at Beethoven and Bach, the greatest organizers of sound that we’ve ever had, and you need to be humble when the shoulders that we stand on are so great.​“ Not to mention that Williams himself has also composed ― aside from non-film symphonies and concertos ― a number of other memorable scores, including those for ...
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Huffington Post article
A-Sides with Jon Chattman: Forcing Star Wars Episode VIII Titles
Huffington Post - 2 months
Disney wasn't quite sure how many Star Wars films to add to the slate until Rogue One debuted. Admittedly, Kathleen Kennedy of Lucasfilm said the company didn't want to go beyond the two sequels to last year's mega-hit The Force Awakens and the "Young" Han Solo film. Now that Rogue is a hit, we can expect more from the cinematic "force" As we await further word on casting of the Solo film, and debate whether the next standalone films will center Boba Fett, a young Obi-Wan Kenobi, or someone else, the next big Star Wars news will be when the trailer to Episode VIII will debut and what its title will be. Until that information is released to the masses, I've decided to take a crack at what the next film's title might be. Why? Because I'm a card-carrying SW nerd. Additionally, in these trying times, I want to attempt to make you (and me laugh). Some of these, mind you, I think would be cool titles even though I have no clue what the next film will be about. Anyway, have fun, and enjoy ...
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Huffington Post article
Monetary Policy: Fed’s John Williams Feels Uncertainty Among Business Leaders
NYTimes - 2 months
Mingled optimism and concern in discussions the San Francisco Fed chief has had since the election.
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Stream the Rogue One soundtrack on Amazon Prime, Apple Music and Spotify
Yahoo News - 2 months
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story isn’t just the first stand-alone Star Wars anthology movie, but it also marks the first film in the franchise that won’t include John Williams’ iconic arrangement. Disney has previously stated that the soundtrack would be available to pre-order on Amazon and stream Dec. 16, but the company also confirmed to Polygon today that other streaming services — including Apple Music and Spotify — would have it as well. “The only pre-order is on Amazon with both physical [and] streaming [options] available on street date this Friday,” a Disney representative told Polygon.
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Yahoo News article
Grammy Nominations 2017 Include Beyoncé And Adele
Huffington Post - 3 months
Awards season is about to begin and music’s biggest night will be here before you know it. On Tuesday morning, the Recording Academy announced the nominees for the 59th annual Grammy Awards.  Last year’s Best New Artist, Meghan Trainor, got things rolling by revealing the general field awards on “CBS This Morning,” and more nominations were announced throughout the day.  Beyoncé leads with nine nominations, while Drake and Rihanna follow close behind with eight each. Meanwhile, Chance the Rapper is nominated for seven awards and Adele earned herself five noms.  Head over to Grammy.com for a full list of all the nominations for 2017: Album Of The Year: 25 — Adele Lemonade — Beyoncé Purpose — Justin Bieber Views — Drake A Sailor’s Guide To Earth — Sturgill Simpson   Song Of The Year: “Formation”— Khalif Brown, Asheton Hogan, Beyoncé Knowles, Michael L. Williams II, songwriters (Beyoncé) “Hello” — Adele Adkins & Greg Kurstin, songwriters (Adele) “I Took A Pill In I ...
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Huffington Post article
Wall Street dips as investors assess rate outlook
Yahoo News - 6 months
By Caroline Valetkevitch NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks edged lower on Friday, led by declines in utility shares as investors weighed prospects for an interest rate increase in the coming months. The telecommunications index , also sensitive to changes in interest rates, fell 0.9 percent. San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams late on Thursday said if the U.S. central bank waited too long to raise rates, it could be costly for the economy and that a possible rate hike in September should be in play.
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Yahoo News article
Fed's Williams says September rate hike makes sense
Yahoo News - 6 months
San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams on Thursday joined a growing chorus of his colleagues signaling support for a U.S. interest rate hike in coming months, saying that waiting too long could be costly for the economy. "I think every one of our meetings should be in play in principle ... I definitely think September should be," Williams told reporters after a speech here, referring to the U.S. central bank's next policy meeting. Saying he is in no hurry to raise rates, Williams nevertheless warned that the economy could overheat if rates are kept low for too long, like a party at which the host fails to remove the punch bowl.
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Yahoo News article
Fed's Williams urges new policies to combat low interest rates
Yahoo News - 6 months
Central bankers and governments must come up with new policies to buffer their economies against persistently low interest rates that threaten to make future recessions deeper and more difficult to avoid, a top Federal Reserve official said on Monday. Setting higher inflation targets, tying monetary policy directly to economic output, instituting government spending programs that automatically kick in during economic downturns, and boosting investment in education and research are all policies that should be considered, San Francisco Fed President John Williams said. Without such changes, Williams warned, policymakers will find themselves hamstrung.
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Yahoo News article
Ravenclaws represent at L.A. Phil's 'Harry Potter' performance at the Hollywood Bowl
LATimes - 8 months
Who knew the world was so full of bright young Ravenclaws? That was one revelation among many during Wednesday’s celebration of the world of Harry Potter at the Hollywood Bowl, an evening in which the Los Angeles Philharmonic performed John Williams’ movie score live during a screening of “Harry...
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LATimes article
Andrew Lloyd Webber Shows His Stripes Over Parody Songs In 'Katdashian' Musical
Huffington Post - 8 months
Broadway legend Andrew Lloyd Webber showed his true stripes in a cat fight with "Katdashians! The Musical," an off-Broadway musical that parodies the queens of reality TV and several songs from Webber's "Cats."  The New York Post was the first to report that Webber threatened legal action against "Katdashians!," claiming the musical written by Bob and Tobly McSmith stole songs from his show.  "It is clear that the production is not a parody of ‘Cats’ . . . Our client’s property is being extensively misappropriated . . . to parody another subject matter entirely," reps for Webber told the Post.  The McSmiths agreed to cut six songs from the show including "Meowmeries," a parody of "Memory" that is the emotional core of the musical, despite the fact that both they, and their legal counsel, believe the songs are protected under fair use.  "At a certain point you have to decide how much money you have to go to court and fight." Tobly told The Huffington Post. "And [Webber has ...
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Huffington Post article
John Williams: Five underrated scores by the AFI-honored composer
LATimes - 8 months
John Williams is one of the few movie composers who is also a household name. His body of work encompasses “Star Wars,” the “Superman” movies, the “Harry Potter” franchise and nearly the complete Steven Spielberg filmography, including “E.T.,” the “Indiana Jones” series and “Schindler’s List.” ...
Article Link:
LATimes article
Veteran composer John Williams honoured
Reuters.com - 9 months
Composer John Williams feted by Hollywood elite at AFI ceremony. Rough cut (no reporter narration).
Article Link:
Reuters.com article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Williams
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2016
    Age 84
    In 2016, Williams composed the score for Spielberg's The BFG, which opened in July 2016.
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    Williams received the AFI Life Achievement Award in June 2016.
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    Williams will be honored with the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016, becoming the first composer to receive the award.
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    At a Tanglewood concert in August 2016, Williams confirmed he is scheduled to start scoring the film.
    More Details Hide Details He has also been attached to compose the scores for Steven Spielberg's Ready Player One adaptation and the fifth Indiana Jones film. John Williams from 1980–93, succeeded Arthur Fiedler as the Boston Pops Orchestra's Principal Conductor. Williams never met Fiedler in person but spoke with him by telephone. His arrival as the Pops' new leader in the spring of 1980 allowed him to devote part of the Pops' first PBS broadcast of the season to presenting his new compositions for The Empire Strikes Back. Williams almost ended his tenure with the Pops in 1984. Considered a customary practice of opinion, some players hissed while sight-reading a new Williams composition in rehearsal; Williams abruptly left the session and turned in his resignation. He initially cited mounting conflicts with his film composing schedule, but later admitted a perceived lack of discipline in, and respect from, the Pops' ranks, culminating in this latest instance. After entreaties by the management and personal apologies from the musicians, Williams withdrew his resignation and continued as principal conductor for nine more years. In 1995, he was succeeded by Keith Lockhart, the former associate conductor of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops Orchestra.
    On June 9, 2016, an interview with Variety stated he "expects" to start working on it in 2017 if attached to the project.
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  • 2015
    Age 83
    However, in March 2015, it was announced that Thomas Newman would replace Williams for the film, as Williams' schedule was interrupted by a minor health issue and he became unavailable to score the film.
    More Details Hide Details This is the first Spielberg film since The Color Purple (1985) not scored by Williams.
    In 2015, he scored Star Wars: The Force Awakens, earning him his 50th Academy Award nomination.
    More Details Hide Details Williams was also set to write the score for Bridge of Spies that year, which would have been his 27th collaboration with director Steven Spielberg.
  • 2013
    Age 81
    He also scored the 2013 film The Book Thief, which marked his first collaboration with a director other than Spielberg since 2005.
    More Details Hide Details The score earned him Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations and earned him a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition. It was his 44th nomination for Best Original Score (and 49th overall), setting a new record for the most nominations in that category (he previously tied Alfred Newman's record of 43 nominations in 2013).
    In February 2013, Williams conducted the Young Musician's Foundation Debut Orchestra and also expressed his interest in working in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, stating: "Now we’re hearing of a new set of movies coming in 2015, 2016... so I need to make sure I'm still ready to go in a few years for what I hope would be continued work with George."
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  • 2012
    Age 80
    In 2012, Williams scored Spielberg's film Lincoln and subsequently received his 48th Academy Award nomination.
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    Williams won an Annie Award for his score for The Adventures of Tintin in 2012.
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  • 2011
    Age 79
    After a three-year absence from film scoring, Williams composed the scores for Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse in 2011.
    More Details Hide Details Both scores received overwhelmingly positive reviews, with both scores earning Oscar nominations, and the latter being nominated for a Golden Globe. The Oscar nominations are Williams' 46th and 47th, making him the most nominated musician in Academy Awards history (having previously been tied with Alfred Newman's 45 nominations), and the second most nominated overall, following Walt Disney.
  • 2008
    Age 76
    During 2008, he also composed music for two documentaries, Warner at War, and A Timeless Call, the latter of which was directed by Steven Spielberg.
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    In 2008, Williams returned to the Indiana Jones series to score the fourth film—Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
    More Details Hide Details He received a Grammy nomination for his work on the film. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was also the only film score from the Indiana Jones film series not to be nominated for an Academy Award.
  • 2005
    Age 73
    In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams' richly thematic and highly popular score to 1977's Star Wars as the greatest American film score of all time.
    More Details Hide Details His scores for Jaws and E.T. also appeared on the list, at 6 and 14, respectively. He is the only composer to have three scores on the list.
    In 2005, the American Film Institute selected Williams' score to 1977's Star Wars as the greatest American film score of all time.
    More Details Hide Details The soundtrack to Star Wars was additionally preserved by the Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry, for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl's Hall of Fame in 2000, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004 and the AFI Life Achievement Award in 2016. Williams composed the score for eight movies in the Top 20 highest-grossing films at the U.S. box office (adjusted for inflation).
  • 2002
    Age 70
    Along with themes from the previous films, Williams created new themes to be used as leitmotifs in 2002's Attack of the Clones and 2005's Revenge of the Sith.
    More Details Hide Details Most notable of these was "Duel of the Fates", an aggressive choral movement in the style of Verdi's Requiem, utilizing harsh Sanskrit lyrics that broadened the style of music used in the Star Wars films. Also of note was "Anakin's Theme", which begins as an innocent childlike melody and morphs insidiously into a quote of the sinister "Imperial March." For Episode II, Williams composed "Across the Stars", a love theme for Padmé Amidala and Anakin Skywalker (mirroring the love theme composed for The Empire Strikes Back). The final installment combined many of the themes created for the series' previous films, including "The Emperor's Theme," "The Imperial March", "Across the Stars", "Duel of the Fates", "The Force Theme", "Rebel Fanfare", "Luke's Theme", and "Princess Leia's Theme", as well as new themes for General Grievous and the film's climax, entitled "Battle of the Heroes".
  • FIFTIES
  • 1987
    Age 55
    The Spielberg-Williams collaboration resumed with the director's 1987 film Empire of the Sun, and has continued to the present, spanning genres from science fiction thrillers (1993's Jurassic Park), to somber tragedies (1993's Schindler's List, 2005's Munich), to Eastern-tinged melodramas (2005's Memoirs of a Geisha, directed by Rob Marshall), to dramatic war films (1998's Saving Private Ryan).
    More Details Hide Details Spielberg has said, "I call it an honorable privilege to regard John Williams as a friend." In 1999, George Lucas launched the first of a series of prequels to the original Star Wars trilogy. Williams was asked to score all three films, starting with The Phantom Menace.
  • FORTIES
  • 1982
    Age 50
    Williams composed an emotional and sensitive score to Spielberg's 1982 fantasy film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial.
    More Details Hide Details Williams was awarded a fourth Academy Award for this score.
  • 1981
    Age 49
    For the 1981 film Raiders of the Lost Ark, created by Lucas and directed by Spielberg, Williams wrote a rousing main theme known as "The Raiders March" to accompany the film's hero, Indiana Jones.
    More Details Hide Details He composed separate themes to represent the Ark of the Covenant, the character Marion, and the story's Nazi villains. Additional themes were featured in his scores to the sequel films Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989), and Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008).
  • 1980
    Age 48
    In 1980, Williams married Samantha Winslow, a photographer.
    More Details Hide Details John Williams has been nominated for 50 Academy Awards, winning 5; 6 Emmy Awards, winning 3; 25 Golden Globe Awards, winning 4; 65 Grammy Awards, winning 22; and has received 7 British Academy Film Awards. With 50 Oscar nominations, Williams currently holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person, and is the second most nominated person in Academy Awards history behind Walt Disney's 59. Forty-five of Williams' Oscar nominations are for Best Original Score and five are for Best Original Song. He won four Oscars for Best Original Score and one for Best Scoring: Adaptation and Original Song Score (Fiddler on the Roof). Williams has been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame. Williams was honored with the annual Richard Kirk award at the 1999 BMI Film and TV Awards, recognizing his contribution to film and television music. In 2004, he received Kennedy Center Honors. He won a Classic Brit Award in 2005 for his soundtrack work of the previous year.
  • 1978
    Age 46
    Williams worked with director Richard Donner to score the 1978 film Superman.
    More Details Hide Details The score's heroic and romantic themes, particularly the main march, the Superman fanfare and the love theme, known as "Can You Read My Mind," appeared in the four sequel films.
  • 1977
    Age 45
    During the same period, Spielberg recommended Williams to his friend and fellow director George Lucas, who needed a composer to score his ambitious 1977 space epic film Star Wars.
    More Details Hide Details Williams delivered a grand symphonic score in the fashion of Richard Strauss and Golden Age Hollywood composers Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Its main theme, "Luke's Theme" is among the most widely recognized in film history, and the "Force Theme" and "Princess Leia's Theme" are well-known examples of leitmotif. Both the film and its score were immensely successful—it remains the highest grossing non-popular music recording of all-time—and Williams won another Academy Award for Best Original Score. In 1980, Williams returned to score The Empire Strikes Back, where he introduced "The Imperial March" as the theme for Darth Vader and the Galactic Empire, "Yoda's Theme", and "Han Solo and the Princess". The original Star Wars trilogy concluded with the 1983 film Return of the Jedi, for which Williams' score provided most notably the "Emperor's Theme", "Parade of the Ewoks", and "Luke and Leia". Both scores earned him Academy Award nominations.
  • 1974
    Age 42
    In 1974, director Steven Spielberg approached Williams to compose the music for his feature directorial debut, The Sugarland Express.
    More Details Hide Details They teamed up again a year later for Spielberg's second film, Jaws. Widely considered to be a classic suspense film, its film score's ominous, two-note ostinato has become synonymous with sharks and approaching danger. The score earned Williams his second Academy Award, his first one for an original composition. Shortly thereafter, Spielberg and Williams began a long collaboration for their next feature film together, Close Encounters of the Third Kind. During their two-year-long collaboration, they crafted its distinctive five-note figure that functions both in the background music and as the communications signal of the film's extraterrestrials. Williams also used a system of musical hand signals in the film that were based on hand signs created by John Curwen and refined by Zoltán Kodály.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1972
    Age 40
    He also wrote a very memorable score for the 1972 film The Cowboys, a western starring John Wayne and directed by Mark Rydell.
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    During the early 1970s, Williams' prominence grew thanks to his work for now–film producer Irwin Allen's disaster films, composing the scores for 1972's The Poseidon Adventure and 1974's The Towering Inferno.
    More Details Hide Details In addition, he scored Universal's 1974 film Earthquake for director Mark Robson, completing a "trinity" of scores for the decade's highest-grossing "disaster films".
    In 1972, he composed the score for the Robert Altman–directed psychological thriller Images (recorded in collaboration with noted percussionist Stomu Yamashta) which earned him another nomination in the category Best Music, Original Dramatic Score at the 1973 Academy Awards.
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  • 1971
    Age 39
    Williams broke through to win his first Academy Award for his film score in the 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof.
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  • 1967
    Age 35
    Williams received his first Academy Award nomination for his film score for 1967's Valley of the Dolls, and was nominated again for his score for 1969's Goodbye, Mr. Chips.
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  • TWENTIES
  • 1958
    Age 26
    Williams's first film composition was for the 1958 B movie Daddy-O, and his first screen credit came two years later in Because They're Young.
    More Details Hide Details He soon gained notice in Hollywood for his versatility in composing jazz, piano, and symphonic music.
  • 1956
    Age 24
    Williams married Barbara Ruick, an American actress and singer, in 1956. Together they had three children: Jennifer (b. 1956), Mark Towner Williams (b. 1958), and Joseph (b. 1960), who is the lead singer of Toto. The two remained married until her death in 1974.
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  • 1955
    Age 23
    In 1955, following his Air Force service, Williams moved to New York City and entered The Juilliard School where he studied piano with Rosina Lhévinne.
    More Details Hide Details During this time Williams worked as a jazz pianist in the city's many jazz clubs. After moving to Los Angeles he began working as a session musician, most notably for composer Henry Mancini. He worked with Mancini on the Peter Gunn soundtrack where his fellow musicians in the rhythm section included guitarist Bob Bain, bassist Rolly Bundock, and drummer Jack Sperling, many of whom were also featured on the Mr. Lucky television series. Known as "Johnny" during the 1950s early 1960s, Williams composed the music for many TV programs and served as music arranger and bandleader for a series of popular music albums with the singer Frankie Laine. Williams has two brothers, Donald and Jerry, both of whom work as percussionists in Los Angeles. While skilled in a variety of 20th century compositional idioms, Williams' most familiar style may be described as a form of neoromanticism, inspired by the late 19th century's large-scale orchestral music—in the style of Tchaikovsky or Richard Wagner's compositions and their concept of leitmotif—that inspired his film music predecessors.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1952
    Age 20
    In 1952, Williams was drafted into the U.S. Air Force, where he conducted and arranged music for The U.S. Air Force Band as part of his assignments.
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  • 1948
    Age 16
    In 1948, the Williams family moved to Los Angeles where John attended North Hollywood High School graduating in 1950.
    More Details Hide Details He later attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and studied privately with the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Williams had originally briefly attended Los Angeles City College for one semester as the school had a Studio Jazz Band.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1932
    Age 0
    John Towner Williams was born on February 8, 1932 in Floral Park, New York, the son of Esther (née Towner) and Johnny Williams, a jazz percussionist who played with the Raymond Scott Quintet.
    More Details Hide Details Williams has said of his lineage, "My father was a Maine man—we were very close. My mother was from Boston. My father's parents ran a department store in Bangor, Maine, and my mother's father was a cabinetmaker. People with those roots are not inclined to be lazy."
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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