Roger Edens

Roger Edens

Hillsboro, Hill County, Texas, USA
Death 13 Jul 1970 (aged 64)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Sanctuary of Remembrance
Memorial ID 2961 · View Source
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Producer, Composer. Roger Edens was considered the single most important creative musical figure at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from the end of the 1930s until the beginning of the 1960s. Working for MGM as part of the "Freed Unit" with producer and songwriter Arthur Freed, he brought a unique combination to MGM's movies as an arranger, songwriter, musical supervisor, composer, and producer. His influence began with composing sheet music and extended, from the early 1940s, to the musical content of complete films and, eventually, the overall production of motion pictures. Born in Hillsboro, Texas, Edens spent his childhood in Richmond, Virginia. He arrived on Broadway as a pit musician and by the end of the 1920s was playing in the orchestra in the production of George Gershwin's "Girl Crazy" for the musicals lead actress Ethel Merman. When Miss Merman was signed to appear in Samuel Goldwyn's production of "Kid Millions" (1934), Edens went with her, and he soon came to the attention of Arthur Freed, the newly promoted production executive at MGM. Edens arranged songs in various non-musical films for the studio, including the Marx Brothers' "A Day At The Races" (1937), and worked with the studio musical talent behind the scenes. In 1935 he took over the piano audition for a very young Judy Garland, nurturing and establishing a creative relationship and friendship that would last for more than three decades. The first result of that friendship was his adaptation of "You Made Me Love You" for young Judy at Clark Gable's 1937 birthday party, which so impressed Louis B. Mayer that singer and song were used in "Broadway Melody of 1938." He was the musical arranger on Garland's next films, "Everybody Sing" and "Listen Darling" (both 1938), among some of her other early films, played the rehearsal piano for Judy on "The Wizard of Oz", and adapted the score of "Babes in Arms" (both 1939). Edens was the musical arranger for the Cole Porter score of "Broadway Melody of 1940", the musical adaptor of the Judy Garland and Gene Kelly film, "For Me and My Gal" (1942). Eden's adapted the Broadway score for Vincente Minnelli's debut film, "Cabin In The Sky" (1943). By the mid-1940s, Edens was an associate producer on such films as "The Harvey Girls" (1946), and was the creative hand behind virtually every major musical that MGM released, including, "Meet Me In St. Louis" (1944) and "Good News" (1947). With "Meet Me In St. Louis", Edens also began a close creative collaboration with Kay Thompson, who worked at MGM as a vocal arranger. Edens most visible projects of the late 1940s included "Easter Parade" (1948), for which he earned an Academy Award; "On the Town" (1949), for which he wrote several new songs and won a second Academy Award; and "Annie Get Your Gun" (1950), for which he received his third Academy Award. In 1951, Eden's creative force was behind "An American in Paris" which became one of the biggest Academy Award winners in motion picture history, "Show Boat" (1951), where he also briefly moved into the director's chair for the "Ol' Man River" sequence, and "The Band Wagon" (1953). The success of television was threatening the stability of the motion picture industry. From working on several movies per year, Edens went to near inactivity. His next major project was working (uncredited) as the musical supervisor on Judy Garland's intended comeback vehicle, "A Star Is Born" for Warner Brothers Pictures. Edens later spent time securing the production of his last big musical, "Funny Face" (1957). An adaptation of the George Gershwin musical of the same name, MGM had a declining interest in producing lavish musicals, and Paramount Pictures was unwilling to allow it's contracted Audrey Hepburn to work in an MGM movie. The project was left in limbo. Edens was able to persuade Paramount Pictures to produce the movie. The film proved to be a career high point not only for Edens, but also for director Stanley Donen and co-star/co-author Kay Thompson. It was also considered one of Audrey Hepburn's greatest films, in addition to being among the last of the true Hollywood musicals. The 1960s brought work in the films, "The Unsinkable Molly Brown" (1964), and "Hello, Dolly!" (1969). He also wrote songs for Judy Garland that she performed at the Palace Theater and in concert. He briefly moved his talents to television, working on projects for "The 37th Annual Academy Awards" (1965) and "The Dean Martin Show" (1968). During his career, Roger Edens garnered eight Academy Award nominations, winning three times.

Bio by: katzizkidz

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 25 May 1998
  • Find a Grave Memorial 2961
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Roger Edens (9 Nov 1905–13 Jul 1970), Find a Grave Memorial no. 2961, citing Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .