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John Williams
John Williams tux.jpg
Williams at the Avery Fisher Hall in 2007
Background information
Birth name John Towner Williams, Jr.
Born February 8, 1932 (1932-02-08) (age 88)
Floral Park, New York, U.S.
Genres Film score, contemporary classical music, jazz
Occupation(s) Composer, conductor, pianist
Years active 1952–present

John Towner Williams (born February 8, 1932) is an American composer and conductor. He has composed many soundtracks for blockbuster movies such as Star Wars, Superman, Jaws, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and Harry Potter.

Early life

William was born in Long Island, New York on February 8, 1932. He studied at the University of California, Los Angeles and at the Julliard School. His parents were Esther and Johnny Williams.


He is best known for his scores (soundtracks) for movies such as Jaws, Star Wars, Superman, E.T., Indiana Jones, Home Alone, Schindler's List, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and Lincoln. He conducted the Boston Pops Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conducts for them a few times each year especially around Christmas time.

Williams has composed music for all but two of Steven Spielberg's movies (Duel and The Color Purple).

John Williams Hollywood Bowl
Williams conducting at Hollywood Bowl, September 2009

For Barack Obama's presidential inauguration on January 20, 2009, John Williams made a special arrangement of the Shaker hymn "Air and Simple Gifts". It was performed by four musicians: the violinist Itzhak Perlman, the cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the clarinetist Anthony McGill and the pianist Gabriela Montero.

Williams also created the theme music for four Olympic Games, NBC Sunday Night Football, the NBC Nightly News, the Statue of Liberty's rededication, the television series Lost in Space and Land of the Giants, and the original, not as well known calypso-based theme song to Gilligan's Island.

Williams is currently in the production of Star Wars Episode VII which will be released in December 2015.

Personal life

Williams was married to actress Barbara Ruick from 1956 until her death from a cerebral hemorrhage in 1974. They had three children: Jennifer, Joseph and Mark. In 1980, he married Samantha Winslow. They live in Los Angeles, California.

Awards and honors

John Williams & Stanley Donan
Stanley Donen (left) and John Williams at Avery Fisher Hall, New York City

Williams has received 49 Academy Award nominations throughout his career. He is the only living person to do so. He won five of them. Williams has received the most nominations for Academy Awards of any person except for Walt Disney.

Williams has also won 4 Golden Globe Awards, 7 British Academy Film Awards and 21 Grammy Awards. Williams was honored with the annual Richard Kirk award at the 1999 BMI Film and TV Awards, recognizing his contribution to movies and television music.

Williams is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national fraternity for college band members. Williams was inducted into the Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame in 2000, and was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors in 2004.

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