Composer. One of Hollywood's most prolific creators of movie music. Under contract at RKO Radio Pictures from 1929 to 1955, Webb personally scored over 250 films and provided stock cues that were used in 150 more. He received seven Academy Award nominations, for "Quality Street" (1937), "My Favorite Wife" (1940), "Joan of Paris" (1942), "I Married a Witch" (1942), "The Fallen Sparrow" (1943), "The Fighting Seabees" (1944), and "The Enchanted Cottage" (1945). Webb was born in New York City. He studied music at Columbia University and wrote its official football fight song, "Roar, Lion, Roar". Following several years of experience on Broadway as a conductor-arranger, he was summoned west by his friend Max Steiner to supervise the early talkie musical "Rio Rita" (1929). He succeeded Steiner as principal Music Director at RKO in 1936. Webb is perhaps the most "invisible" of Hollywood's great Golden Age composers. His smooth, almost subliminal style enhanced the images onscreen without drawing attention to itself; he was not a gifted melodist but his themes were always atmospheric and dramatically effective. It's a measure of his talent that Webb's colleagues felt he was peerless in the difficult art of underscoring dialogue. Although he worked in all genres he was at his characteristic best with producer Val Lewton's famous horror films and a number of film noir classics. His other important credits include "Alice Adams" (1935), "The Last Days of Pompeii" (1935), "Stage Door" (1937), "Bringing Up Baby" (1938), "Love Affair" (1939), "Cat People" (1942), "Journey Into Fear" (1943), "I Walked With a Zombie" (1943), "Murder, My Sweet" (1944), "The Body Snatcher" (1945), "Notorious" (1946), "Crossfire" (1947), "Out of the Past" (1947), "I Remember Mama" (1948), "Mighty Joe Young" (1949), "The Window" (1949), "Houdini" (1953), and "Marty" (1955). Throughout his career Webb was loaned out to other studios and in the 1950s he was hired for several features by John Wayne's company, Batjac Productions. He retired in 1958 after years of lucrative freelancing. In 1961 Webb lost all his manuscripts in a fire that destroyed his home, but copies of most of his film scores still exist in the RKO archives, now housed at UCLA. His grave at Forest Lawn in Glendale is unmarked - a fitting end for a man who never clamored for the spotlight, in life or in his music.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards