88 Facts About John Williams


John Towner Williams KBE was born on February 8,1932 and is an American composer, conductor, and pianist.


John Williams's compositions are considered the epitome of film music, and he is considered among the greatest composers in the history of cinema-as well as all time.


John Williams has been associated with director Steven Spielberg since 1974, composing music for all but five of his feature films, and George Lucas, with whom he has worked on both of his main franchises.


John Williams has composed for many popular films including the Star Wars saga, Superman, the first two Home Alone films, the Indiana Jones films, the first two Jurassic Park films, and the first three Harry Potter films.


John Williams has composed numerous classical concertos and other works for orchestral ensembles and solo instruments.


John Williams served as the Boston Pops' principal conductor from 1980 to 1993 and is its laureate conductor.


John Williams announced but then rescinded his intention to retire from film score composing after the release of Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny in 2023.


John Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl's Hall of Fame in 2000, and he received a Kennedy Center Honor in 2004.


John Williams has composed the score for nine of the top 25 highest-grossing films at the US box office.


John Williams's work has influenced other composers of film, popular, and contemporary classical music.


John Towner Williams was born in Flushing, Queens, New York City, to Esther and Johnny Williams, a jazz drummer and percussionist who played with the Raymond Scott Quintet.


John Williams is the eldest of four children and has three younger siblings: Jerry, Joan, and Donald.


In 1948, the Williams family moved to Los Angeles where John attended North Hollywood High School, graduating in 1950.


John Williams later attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and studied composition privately with the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.


John Williams attended Los Angeles City College for one semester, as the school had a Studio Jazz Band.


In 1951, John Williams joined the US Air Force, where he played the piano and brass and conducted and arranged music for the US Air Force Band as part of his assignments.


John Williams attended music courses at the University of Arizona as part of his service.


In 1955, following his Air Force service, John Williams moved to New York City and entered the Juilliard School, where he studied piano with Rosina Lhevinne.


John Williams was originally set on becoming a concert pianist, but after hearing contemporary pianists like John Browning and Van Cliburn perform he switched his focus to composition.


John Williams was a studio pianist and session musician, performing on film scores by composers such as Jerry Goldsmith, Elmer Bernstein, Leonard Bernstein, and Henry Mancini.


John Williams plays the piano part of the guitar-piano ostinato in the famous Mancini Peter Gunn title theme.


John Williams was the pianist for the soundtrack for the adaptation of Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story and the 1960 film The Apartment.


John Williams served as music arranger and bandleader for a series of popular music albums with the singers Ray Vasquez and Frankie Laine.


John Williams composed music for various television programs in the same time period including the pilot episode of Gilligan's Island, Bachelor Father, the Kraft Suspense Theatre, Lost in Space, The Time Tunnel, and Land of the Giants.


John Williams soon gained notice in Hollywood for his versatility in composing jazz, piano, and symphonic music.


John Williams received his first Academy Award nomination for his score for 1967's Valley of the Dolls and was nominated again for his score for 1969's Goodbye, Mr Chips.


John Williams won his first Academy Award for his score adaptation for the 1971 film Fiddler on the Roof.


John Williams scored Universal's 1974 film Earthquake for director Mark Robson, completing a "trinity" of scores for the decade's highest-grossing "disaster films", and the 1972 film The Cowboys, a western starring John Wayne and directed by Mark Rydell.


In 1974, director Steven Spielberg approached John Williams to compose the music for his feature directorial debut, The Sugarland Express.


Shortly thereafter, Spielberg and John Williams began collaborating on Spielberg's next feature film, Close Encounters of the Third Kind.


John Williams eventually delivered a grand symphonic score in the fashion of Gustav Holst's orchestral suite The Planets, as well as Richard Strauss, Antonin Dvorak, and Golden Age Hollywood composers Max Steiner and Erich Wolfgang Korngold.


John Williams did not much like the film but did not want to turn down the chance to work for Hitchcock.


John Williams worked with director Richard Donner to score the 1978 film Superman.


John Williams composed separate themes to represent the Ark of the Covenant, the character Marion, and the story's Nazi villains.


In 1985, John Williams was commissioned by NBC to compose a television news music package for various network news spots.


The package, which John Williams named "The Mission", consists of four movements, two of which are still used heavily by NBC today for Today, NBC Nightly News, and Meet the Press.


John Williams then garnered his fourth Oscar for Best Original Score, his fifth Academy Award overall.


John Williams was asked to score all three, starting with The Phantom Menace.


For Episode II John Williams composed "Across the Stars", a love theme for Padme Amidala and Anakin Skywalker.


In 2008 John Williams composed music for two documentaries, Warner at War and A Timeless Call, the latter directed by Spielberg.


In 2011, after a three-year absence from film scoring, John Williams composed the scores for Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse.


John Williams won an Annie Award for his score for The Adventures of Tintin.


In 2015, John Williams scored Star Wars: The Force Awakens, earning him his 50th Academy Award nomination.


John Williams was set to write the score for Bridge of Spies that year, which would have been his 27th collaboration with Spielberg, but in March 2015 it was announced that Thomas Newman would score it instead, as Williams's schedule was interrupted by a minor health issue.


In 2016, John Williams composed the score for Spielberg's The BFG.


In 2017, John Williams scored the animated short film Dear Basketball, directed by Glen Keane and based on a poem by Kobe Bryant.


John Williams wrote the music for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the eighth episode of the saga, and Spielberg's drama film The Post, both of which opened in December 2017.


Williams contributed "The Adventures of Han" and several additional demos for the 2018 standalone Star Wars film Solo: A Star Wars Story, while John Powell wrote the film's original score and adapted Williams's music.


In July 2018, John Williams composed the main musical theme for Disneyland and Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park attraction Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge.


John Williams won the Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition for his Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Symphonic Suite.


In 2019, John Williams served as music consultant for Spielberg's 2021 film adaptation of West Side Story.


John Williams scored Spielberg's next film The Fabelmans, released on November 23,2022.


John Williams composed the theme music for the Star Wars miniseries Obi-Wan Kenobi.


In June 2022, John Williams announced that Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, scheduled for a 2023 release, would likely be his last film score as he plans to retire from film and focus on composing concert music.


John Williams compared the decision to Spielberg's father Arnold, who had worked in his career field until he was 100.


From 1980 to 1993, John Williams served as the Boston Pops Orchestra's principal conductor, succeeding Arthur Fiedler.


John Williams never met Fiedler in person but spoke to him by telephone.


John Williams 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.


John Williams is the Pops' laureate conductor, thus maintaining his affiliation with its parent Boston Symphony Orchestra.


John Williams makes annual appearances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, and he took part as conductor and composer in the orchestra's opening gala concerts for the Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2003.


For Game 1 of the 2007 World Series, John Williams conducted a brass-and-drum ensemble in a new dissonant arrangement of the "Star Spangled Banner".


In February 2004, April 2006, and September 2007, John Williams conducted the New York Philharmonic at Avery Fisher Hall in New York City.


Maestro John Williams conducted the National Symphony Orchestra, the US Army Herald Trumpets, the Joint Armed Forces Chorus, and the Choral Arts Society of Washington in his new arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner" for the anthem's 200th anniversary.


German classical violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter and John Williams, introduced to each other by their mutual friend Andre Previn, collaborated on an album, "Across the Stars", on which Mutter played themes and pieces from John Williams's film scores in his new arrangements for violin.


In 2022, in celebration of his 90th birthday, John Williams conducted the Vienna Philharmonic in March, and was honored on August 20 with a tribute at Tanglewood.


In 1956, John Williams married Barbara Ruick, an American actress and singer, and remained married until her death in 1974.


John Williams is regarded as one of the most influential film composers.


John Williams's work has influenced other film composers, as well as contemporary classical and popular music.


John Williams has been nominated for 53 Academy Awards, winning five; six Emmy Awards, winning three; 25 Golden Globe Awards, winning four; 71 Grammy Awards, winning 25; and has received seven British Academy Film Awards.


John Williams is the only person to be nominated for an Academy Award in seven different decades.


John Williams is the oldest person, at age 90, ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.


John Williams won four Oscars for Best Original Score and one for Best Scoring: Adaptation and Original Song Score.


In 1980, John Williams received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music.


John Williams received an Honorary Doctor of Music degree from Boston College in 1993, from Harvard University in 2017, and from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021.


John Williams was made an honorary brother of Kappa Kappa Psi at Boston University in 1993, upon his impending retirement from the Boston Pops.


Since 1988, John Williams has been honored with 15 Sammy Film Music Awards, the longest-running awards for film music recordings.


In 2000, John Williams received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.


John Williams has been inducted into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame.


John 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.


John Williams won a Classic Brit Award in 2005 for his soundtrack work of the previous year.


In 2009, John Williams received the National Medal of Arts in the White House in Washington, DC, for his achievements in symphonic music for films, and "as a pre-eminent composer and conductor [whose] scores have defined and inspired modern movie-going for decades".


In 2012, John Williams received the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music.


In 2013, John Williams was presented with the Ken Burns Lifetime Achievement Award.


Also the same year, John Williams received the Grammy Trustees Award which is a Special Merit Award presented to individuals who, during their careers in music, have made significant contributions, other than performance, to the field of recording.


In 2020, John Williams won the Grammy Award for "Best Instrumental Composition" for composing Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Symphonic Suite, and he received his 52nd Oscar nomination for "Best Original Score" at the 92nd Academy Awards for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.


In 2020, John Williams received the Gold Medal of the Royal Philharmonic Society as well as the Princess of Asturias Award for the Arts.


In 2021, John Williams received an honorary degree from the University of Pennsylvania.


In 2022, John Williams was appointed an Honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II, "for services to film music", one of the final two knighthoods awarded during the Queen's seventy-year reign.