Franz Waxman (24 December 1906 – 24 February 1967) was a German-born composer, known for his bravura Carmen Fantasie for violin and orchestra, based on musical themes from the Bizet opera Carmen, and for his musical scores for films.Waxman was born Franz Wachsmann in Königshütte (Chorzów) in the German Empire's Prussian Province of Silesia (now in Poland). At the age of three Waxman suffered a serious eye injury involving boiling water tipped from a stove, which permanently impaired his vision.Waxman orchestrated Friedrich Hollaender's score for the 1930 film The Blue Angel and then wrote original scores for several German films. With the Nazis in power from 1933, he worked briefly in France, composing the music for Fritz Lang's French version of Liliom, but arrived in the United States by 1935. He was commissioned to write the score for Bride of Frankenstein, his first American film, by director James Whale, who had admired his score for Liliom.Franz Waxman worked with the director Alfred Hitchcock in four films, including Rebecca (1940), Suspicion (1941), The Paradine Case (1947), and Rear Window (1954). Bernard Herrmann, Franz Waxman, Louis Levy, and Dimitri Tiomkin are the only composers who often worked with Alfred Hitchcock. Although Miklós Rózsa wrote most of the music for Spellbound (1945), some of Franz Waxman's music was also used, especially the scene the where Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman are skiing. Franz Waxman had two Academy Award nominations for his scores with Alfred Hitchcock: Rebecca and Suspicion.During his career, Waxman received 12 Oscar nominations, winning in consecutive years for Sunset Boulevard and A Place in the Sun.In addition to his film scores, Waxman composed concert works and, in 1947, founded the Los Angeles International Music Festival, which he headed for twenty years. During his tenure, the festival served as the venue for world and American premieres of 80 major works by composers such as Igor Stravinsky, William Walton, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Dmitri Shostakovich and Arnold Schoenberg.
Waxman died of cancer in Los Angeles, at age 60.
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