Composer. His lush, romantic film scores epitomized Hollywood movie music of the 1930s and 40s. The dynamic score he composed for "King Kong" (1933) is a landmark of the genre; before then, most early talkie soundtracks were musically barren. Steiner won three Academy Awards (out of 27 nominations), for "The Informer" (1935), "Now, Voyager" (1942), and "Since You Went Away" (1944), but he was overlooked for what is considered his greatest achievement, the music for "Gone With the Wind" (1939). In all Steiner personally scored over 100 films and wrote stock themes and cues that were used in hundreds more. His other famous credits include "Cimarron" (1931), "The Gay Divorcee" (1934), "The Lost Patrol" (1934), "Alice Adams" (1935), "The Charge of the Light Brigade" (1936), "A Star is Born" (1937), "The Life of Emile Zola" (1937), "Jezebel" (1938), "Dark Victory" (1939), "The Letter" (1940), "Sergeant York" (1941), "Casablanca" (1943), "Mildred Pierce" (1945), "The Big Sleep" (1946), "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre" (1948), "Key Largo" (1948), "Johnny Belinda" (1948), "The Caine Mutiny" (1954), "The Searchers" (1956), and "A Summer Place" (1959). Maximilian Raoul Walter Steiner was born in Vienna. A child prodigy, he graduated from Vienna's Imperial Academy of Music at age 13 after completing an eight-year course in one year. He studied conducting with Gustav Mahler and made his concert debut at 16. In 1914 he emigrated to the United States, where he conducted and arranged musicals for Florenz Ziegfeld, George White, and Victor Herbert. The talkie revolution brought him to Hollywood. Steiner was head of the music department at RKO from 1928 to 1936, then joined Warner Bros. as a staff composer, remaining there (apart from occasional loan-outs to other studios) until his retirement in 1965. Steiner's movie music was virile, direct, melodious, and closely wedded to the images. Subtlety was not one of his strong points; he often mistook bombast for dramatic effect, and his underscoring could be literal to the point of cartoonishness. But he was an important influence on the development of music as a functional element in films, and he created some of the cinema's most memorable musical moments.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards
Gabor Christian Steiner
Ronald Lawrence Maximilian Steiner