Leigh Harline

born on 26/3/1907 in Salt Lake City, UT, United States

died on 10/12/1969 in Long Beach, CA, United States

Leigh Harline

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Leigh Adrian Harline (March 26, 1907 – December 10, 1969) was an American film composer and songwriter. He was known for his "musical sophistication that was uniquely 'Harline-esque' by weaving rich tapestries of mood-setting underscores and penning memorable melodies for animated shorts and features."


Leigh Harline was born March 26, 1907, in Salt Lake City, Utah, the youngest of 13 children, to soldier Carl Härlin and his wife Johanna Matilda. His parents came from the village of Härfsta in Simtuna parish, Sweden. They joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1888 and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, in 1891. In the U.S. they changed their surname to Harline.[1] Leigh was baptized a member of the LDS Church at age eight.[2]

Harline graduated from the University of Utah and studied piano and organ with Mormon Tabernacle Choir conductor J. Spencer Cornwall. In 1928, he moved to California and worked at radio stations in San Francisco and Los Angeles as a composer, conductor, arranger, instrumentalist, singer and announcer. In 1931, he provided music for the first transcontinental radio broadcast to originate from the West Coast. He was then hired by Walt Disney where he scored more than 50 tunes, including for the Silly Symphonies cartoon series in the 1930s.

Harline, Frank Churchill, Paul Smith and Larry Morey then scored Disney's first animated feature-length cartoon Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. Snow White contained several classic songs, including "I'm Wishing", "Whistle While You Work", "Heigh-Ho" and "Some Day My Prince Will Come."[3][4]

He next later scored Pinocchio for Disney in 1940. The film won Academy Award for Best Original Music Score and the song "When You Wish Upon a Star" won the Academy Award for Best Original Song.,[3][4] it went on to be featured on Disney's opening logo since 1985.

Harline left Disney in 1941 to compose for other studios. His credits include Road to Utopia (1945), Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948), The Desert Rats (1953), The Enemy Below (1957), Ten North Frederick (1958), Warlock (1959), The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962), The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (1963) and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964).

He died from complications of throat cancer on December 10, 1969, in Long Beach, California, and is buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery.

Selected filmography

  • The Goddess of Spring (1934)
  • Pinocchio (1940)
  • Johnny Come Lately (1943)
  • Road to Utopia (1945)
  • Nocturne (1946)
  • The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947)
  • The Boy with Green Hair (1948)
  • Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (1948)
  • It Happens Every Spring (1949)
  • The Big Steal (1949)
  • Monkey Business (1952)
  • Pickup on South Street (1953)
  • The Desert Rats (1953)
  • Broken Lance (1954)
  • House of Bamboo (1955)
  • The Last Frontier (1955)
  • Good Morning, Miss Dove (1955)
  • 23 Paces to Baker Street (1956)
  • The True Story of Jesse James (1957)
  • Perry Mason (TV series) (1957)
  • The Wayward Bus (1957)
  • The Enemy Below (1957)
  • Ten North Frederick (1958)
  • Man of the West (1958)
  • The Remarkable Mr. Pennypacker (1959)
  • Warlock (1959)
  • Visit to a Small Planet (1960)
  • The Honeymoon Machine (1961)
  • The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962)
  • The Travels of Jaimie McPheeters (TV series) (1963)
  • 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1963)
  • Strange Bedfellows (1965)


  • A Century of Animation (includes photo)
  • Disney Legends
  • LDS Film Composers


  1. ^ sv:Leigh Harline
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ a b Erickson, H. "Leigh Harline". New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
  4. ^ a b Erickson, H. "Leigh Harline". AllMovie. Retrieved 2015-06-27.
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