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 Frank Churchill

Frank Churchill

Birth
Rumford, Oxford County, Maine, USA
Death 14 May 1942 (aged 40)
Newhall, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Whispering Pines, L-899
Memorial ID 9166 · View Source
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Composer. He wrote music for dozens of Walt Disney cartoons in the 1930s and early 1940s. His song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" from "The Three Little Pigs" (1933) became an anthem of optimism during the Depression era. Churchill contributed greatly to the success of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937), producing a memorable song score that included the hits "Heigh Ho", "Some Day My Prince Will Come", "Whistle While You Work", "I'm Wishing", and "One Song". He received five Oscar nominations and shared the Best Original Score award for "Dumbo" (1941). Churchill was born in Rumford, Maine, and moved to Los Angeles with his family as a child. His first job was as a piano accompanist for silent movies at local theatres. After dropping out of pre-med studies at UCLA he worked in radio and joined the Disney studio in 1930. He eventually became supervisor of Disney's music department and provided songs and incidental cues for some 65 shorts, including "Mickey's Gala Premiere" (1933), "The Tortoise and the Hare" (1934), and "Playful Pluto" (1934). His collaborators were lyricists Ann Ronell (for "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf"), Larry Morey, and Ned Washington, and composer-arranger Oliver Wallace. He also co-wrote the songs "Happy As a Lark", "Put Your Heart in a Song" and "The Sunny Side of Things" for the live-action feature "Breaking the Ice" (1938), and appeared in the documentary sequences of Disney's "The Reluctant Dragon" (1941). For all the uncomplicated cheerfulness of his songs, Churchill was a reserved, brooding and deeply troubled man. Deteriorating eyesight and a bitter artists' strike that divided the Disney company in 1941 made him increasingly despondent. Just two months after winning his Oscar for "Dumbo", Churchill shot himself. His beautiful final score, for "Bambi" (1942), was completed by others after his death.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 18 Apr 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 9166
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Frank Churchill (20 Oct 1901–14 May 1942), Find A Grave Memorial no. 9166, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .