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John Williams
Biographical information

February 8, 1932
Floral Park, New York, USA



Star Wars work

All Star Wars films

Other work of note

John Towner Williams is the composer of nearly all of the music heard in the Star Wars films. He has also composed scores for many other well known movies and older television shows.



John Towner Williams was born on February 8, 1932, in Floral Park, New York, USA. His father was a jazz drummer and percussionist in the CBS Radio Orchestra and the Raymond Scott Quintette. After moving to Los Angeles in 1948, he attended the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Los Angeles City College, where he studied orchestration under MGM musical associate Robert van Eps and was privately tutored by composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco.

In 1952, he was drafted into the United States Air Force, spending the next two years conducting and arranging music for Air Force bands. Afterwards, he went to the famous music school Juilliard in New York, where he was able to improve his piano performance skills under the tutelage of the renowned Madame Rosina Levinne. Later, he returned to Los Angeles and worked as a piano player for film studios. In 1956, he became a staff arranger at Columbia Pictures, and then at 20th Century Fox. His combined dream of music and film were merged.

As "Johnny" Williams, he composed music to such classical TV series like Wagon Train, Gilligan's Island, and Bachelor Father. These works paved the way for him to Irwin Allen's Lost in Space.

Williams conducting the London Symphony Orchestra.

He achieved success with None But the Brave (1965), followed by an Oscar nomination for Valley of the Dolls in 1968. Four years later, he won the Oscars for Best Music, Scoring Adaptation, and Original Song Score for Fiddler on the Roof. Much of what he worked on won him awards and nominations. He became one of the most popular composers and was mentioned with talent equal to Jerry Goldsmith, John Berry, and Elmer Bemstein. He had six nominations within five years, among them two double-nominations in 1969 and 1972 for the films Goodbye Mr. Chips, The Rievers, Images, The Poseidon Adventure, Cinderella Liberty, and Hell Tower.

In 1974, he met Steven Spielberg, then just a novice director, who asked him to write music for The Sugarland Express. For their next film, Jaws, Williams created frightening compositions that convincingly expressed the approach of the shark and set a basic feeling for the film. John Williams was pivotal to the huge success of the movie, which earned him his first Academy Award for Best Original Score.

In 1977, he composed the music for Star Wars, which turned out to be a huge success. Star Wars became the best selling score-only soundtrack of all time and won him yet another Oscar. The lush sound of the London Symphony Orchestra made the music and the space-war story memorable.

Throughout the years, Williams' long-time collaboration with Spielberg had earned him two more Oscars for his scores to E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Schindler's List.

He was also contracted to write the music for the Olympic Games.

With 46 Academy Award nominations to date, Williams holds the record for the most Oscar nominations for a living person.

Williams's son, Joseph Williams, chose a musical career like his father. The two worked together on Return of the Jedi and Attack of the Clones.

Rick McCallum stated at Star Wars Reunion 2 that he hopes to have John Williams on the musical score for Star Wars live-action TV series(though too early to tell) and added that each episode will have its own original score.

Works by John Williams for Star Wars



Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (1977)

(Oscar, Golden Globe & BAFTA winner)

  • Main Title/Rebel Blockade Runner
  • Imperial Attack
  • The Dune Sea of Tatooine/Jawa Sandcrawler
  • The Moisture Farm
  • The Hologram/Binary Sunset
  • Landspeeder Search/Attack of the Sand People
  • Tales of a Jedi Knight/Learn About the Force
  • Burning Homestead
  • Mos Eisley Spaceport
  • Cantina Band (Source Music)
  • Binary Sunset (Alternate)
  • Princess Leia's Theme
  • The Millennium Falcon/Imperial Cruiser Pursuit
  • Destruction of Alderaan
  • The Death Star/The Stormtroopers
  • Wookiee Prisoner/Detention Block Ambush
  • Shootout in the Cell Bay/Dianoga
  • The Trash Compactor
  • The Tractor Beam / Chasm Crossfire
  • Ben Kenobi's Death / TIE Fighter Attack
  • The Battle of Yavin (Launch from the Fourth Moon/X-Wings Draw Fire/Use the Force)
  • The Throne Room/End Title

Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (Oscar nominee, BAFTA and Grammy winner)

  • Main Title/The Ice Planet Hoth
  • The Wampa's Lair/Vision of Obi-Wan/Snowspeeders Take Flight
  • The Imperial Probe/Aboard The Executor
  • The Battle of Hoth (Ion Cannon/Imperial Walkers/Beneath the AT-AT/Escape in the Millennium Falcon)
  • The Asteroid Field
  • Arrival on Dagobah
  • Luke's Nocturnal Visitor
  • Han Solo and the Princess
  • Jedi Master Revealed/Mynock Cave
  • The Training of a Jedi Knight/The Magic Tree
  • The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)
  • Yoda's Theme
  • Attacking a Star Destroyer
  • Yoda and the Force
  • Imperial Starfleet Deployed/City in the Clouds
  • Lando's Palace
  • Betrayal at Bespin
  • Deal With the Dark Lord
  • Carbon Freeze / Darth Vader's Trap / Departure of Boba Fett
  • The Clash of Lightsabers

Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi (1983) (Oscar, Saturn and Grammy nominee)

  • Main Title/Approaching the Death Star/Tatooine Rendezvous
  • The Droids are Captured
  • Bounty for a Wookiee
  • Han Solo Returns
  • Luke Confronts Jabba/Den of the Rancor/Sarlacc Sentence
  • The Pit of Carkoon/Sail Barge Assault
  • The Emperor Arrives/The Death of Yoda/Obi-Wan's Revelation
  • Alliance Assembly
  • Shuttle Tydirium Approaches Endor
  • Speeder Bike Chase/Land of the Ewoks
  • Jabba's Baroque Recital (Source Music)
  • Jedi Rocks (Source Music)
  • Parade of the Ewoks
  • Luke and Leia
  • Brother and Sister/Father and Son/The Fleet Enters Hyperspace/Heroic Ewok
  • The Emperor's Throne Room
  • The Battle of Endor I (Into the Trap/Forest Ambush/Scout Walker Scramble/Prime Weapon Fires)
  • The Lightsaber/The Ewok Battle
  • The Battle of Endor II (Leia is Wounded/The Duel Begins/Overtaking the Bunker/The Dark Side Beckons/The Emperor's Death)
  • The Battle of Endor III (Superstructure Chase/Darth Vader's Death/The Main Reactor)
  • Leia's News/Light of the Force
  • Victory Celebration/End Title
  • Ewok Feast/Part of the Tribe (Source Music)
  • The Forest Battle (Concert Suite)

Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999)

(Grammy Nomination)

  • Star Wars Main Title and the Arrival at Naboo
  • Duel of the Fates
  • Anakin's Theme
  • Jar Jar's Introduction and the Swim to Otoh Gunga
  • The Sith Spacecraft and the Droid Battle
  • The Trip to the Naboo Temple and the Audience with Boss Nass
  • The Arrival at Tatooine and the Flag Parade
  • He is the Chosen One
  • Anakin Defeats Sebulba
  • Passage Through the Planet Core
  • Watto's Deal and Kids at Play
  • Panaka and the Queen's Protectors
  • Queen Amidala and the Naboo Palace
  • The Droid Invasion and the Appearance of Darth Maul
  • Qui-Gon's Noble End
  • The High Council Meeting and Qui-Gon's Funeral
  • Augie's Great Municipal Band and End Credits

Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

  • Star Wars Main Title and Ambush on Coruscant
  • Across the Stars (Love Theme from "Attack of the Clones")
  • Zam the Assassin and the Chase Through Coruscant
  • Yoda and the Younglings
  • Departing Coruscant
  • Anakin and Padmé
  • Jango's Escape
  • The Meadow Picnic
  • Bounty Hunter's Pursuit
  • Return to Tatooine
  • The Tusken Camp and the Homestead
  • Love Pledge and the Arena
  • Confrontation with Count Dooku and Finale

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)

(2 Grammy nominations)

  • Star Wars and the Revenge of the Sith
  • Anakin's Dream
  • Battle of the Heroes
  • Anakin's Betrayal
  • General Grievous
  • Palpatine's Teachings
  • Grievous and the Droids
  • Padmé's Ruminations
  • Anakin vs. Obi-Wan
  • Anakin's Dark Deeds
  • Enter Lord Vader
  • The Immolation Scene
  • Grievous Speaks to Lord Sidious
  • The Birth of the Twins and Padmé's Destiny
  • A New Hope and End Credits

Star Wars: Dark Empire

Star Wars (Radio)

Non-Star Wars Works



Wookieepedia has a collection of quotes related to John Williams.

External links

Real world music
The Phantom Menace · Attack of the Clones · Revenge of the Sith
A New Hope · The Empire Strikes Back · Return of the Jedi
Ewoks · The Clone Wars
Shadows of the Empire · Republic Commando · Knights of the Old Republic
Knights of the Old Republic II · Forces of Corruption · The Force Unleashed
John Williams · Kevin Kiner · Peter Bernstein · Jesse Harlin
Mark Griskey · Frank Klepacki · Jeremy Soule · Joseph Williams · Jerry Hey
London Symphony Orchestra · London Voices
City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra · Maurice Murphy
IU Music
Max Rebo Band · Modal Nodes · Mad About Me · Jedi Rocks · Jizz

This article uses material from the "John Williams" article on the Starwars wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.


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