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Frank Edwin Churchill was an American composer of popular music for films. He wrote most of the music for Disney's 1937 movie, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, including "Whistle While You Work" and "Someday My Prince Will Come". The latter (without the Larry Morey lyrics) became a jazz standard covered by various jazz greats including Oscar Peterson, Miles Davis, and Dave Brubeck.

History

Churchill began his career playing piano in cinemas at the age of 15. After dropping out of medical studies at the University of Los Angeles, California to pursue a career in music, he became accompanist at the Los Angeles radio station KNX (AM) in 1924.

He joined Walt Disney Productions in 1930, and scored many animated shorts - his song for The Three Little Pigs, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?", was a huge commercial success.

In 1937, he was chosen to score Disney's first full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. His catchy, artfully written songs played a large part in the film's initial success and continuing popularity.

In 1942, Churchill and fellow composer Oliver Wallace won an Oscar in the category "Scoring of a Musical Picture" for co-writing the score for Dumbo. He also shared an Oscar nomination with Ned Washington for the song "Baby Mine" from Dumbo for Best Song. A year later, Churchill received two posthumous Oscar nominations; the first for co-writing the score to Bambi with Edward Plumb, and the second for co-writing the song "Love is a Song" from Bambi with lyricist Larry Morey.

Frank Churchill committed suicide on May 14, 1942, at his ranch north of Los Angeles in Castaic, California. He is purported to have died "at the piano" of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Although there is some speculation that his suicide was a result of negative discourse with Walt Disney regarding his latest scores for Bambi, it was more likely due to his deep depression and bought with heavy drinking after the deaths of two of his closest friends and fellow Disney orchestra members who had passed away earlier that year within a month of each other.

At the time of his death, Churchill had been working on music in the early stages of Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, and Peter Pan.

Disney Filmography

Year Film Position
1930 The Chain Gang Composer - uncredited
1931 The Castaway Composer - uncredited
1931 The China Plate Composer - uncredited
1931 The Busy Beavers Composer - uncredited
1931 The Cat's Out Composer - uncredited
1931 Egyptian Melodies Composer - uncredited
1931 The Clock Store Composer - uncredited
1931 The Fox Hunt Composer - uncredited
1932 The Bird Store Composer - uncredited
1932 The Grocery Boy Composer - uncredited
1932 Barnyard Olympics Composer - uncredited
1932 The Bears and Bees Composer - uncredited
1932 Musical Farmer Composer - uncredited
1932 Mickey in Arabia Composer - uncredited
1932 The Whoopee Party Composer - uncredited
1932 Bugs in Love Composer - uncredited
1932 Touchdown Mickey Composer - uncredited
1932 The Klondike Kid Composer - uncredited
1932 Santa's Workshop Composer - uncredited
1933 Building a Building Composer - uncredited
1933 Mickey's Pal Pluto Composer - uncredited
1933 Birds in the Spring Composer - uncredited
1933 Mickey's Mellerdrammer Composer - uncredited
1933 Ye Olden Days Composer - uncredited
1933 Three Little Pigs Composer - uncredited
Songwriter: "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?"
1933 Mickey's Gala Premier Composer - uncredited
1933 Old King Cole Composer - uncredited
1933 Puppy Love Composer - uncredited
1933 Lullaby Land Composer - uncredited
Songwriter: "Lullaby Land of Nowhere"
1933 The Steeple Chase Composer - uncredited
1933 Giantland Composer - uncredited
1934 Shanghaied Composer - uncredited
1934 Camping Out Composer - uncredited
1934 Playful Pluto Composer - uncredited
1934 Funny Little Bunnies Composer
Songwriter: "See the Funny Little Bunnies"
1934 The Big Bad Wolf Composer - uncredited
1934 Gulliver Mickey Composer - uncredited
1934 Mickey's Steam Roller Composer - uncredited
1934 The Grasshopper and the Ants Songwriter: "The World Owes Me a Living"
1934 The Flying Mouse Composer - uncredited
1934 Orphan's Benefit Composer - uncredited
1934 Mickey Plays Papa Composer - uncredited
1934 The Dognapper Composer - uncredited
1934 Servants' Entrance Musical Director: animation sequence - uncredited
1935 The Tortoise and the Hare Composer - uncredited
1935 Mickey's Man Friday Composer - uncredited
1935 The Golden Touch Composer - uncredited
1935 The Robber Kitten Composer - uncredited
1935 Who Killed Cock Robin? Composer - uncredited
1935 Pluto's Judgement Day Composer - uncredited
1935 On Ice Composer - uncredited
1935 Three Orphan Kittens Composer - uncredited
1935 Cock o' the Walk Composer - uncredited
1936 Three Little Wolves Composer - uncredited
1936 Thru the Mirror Composer - uncredited
1936 Toby Tortoise Returns Composer - uncredited
1936 Donald and Pluto Composer - uncredited
1936 More Kittens Composer - uncredited
1937 The Worm Turns Musical Director - uncredited
1937 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs music: "I'm Wishing"
"One Song"
"With a Smile and a Song"
"Whistle While You Work"
"The Dig Dig Dig Song"
"Heigh-Ho"
"Bluddle-Uddle-Um-Dum"
"The Silly Song"
"Someday My Prince Will Come" - uncredited
1939 The Practical Pig Composer - uncredited
1940 Bone Trouble Composer
1940 Pinocchio Music Department - uncredited
1941 The Reluctant Dragon Himself
Composer
1941 Dumbo music: "Look Out for Mr. Stork"
"Roustabouts"
"Baby Mine" - uncredited
1942 The Army Mascot Composer - uncredited (Posthumous release)
1942 All Together Composer - uncredited (Posthumous release)
1942 Bambi Composer
Songwriter: "Love is a Song"
"Little April Shower"
"Let's Sing a Gay Little Spring Song"
"Looking For Romance" - uncredited (Posthumous release)
1942 Saludos Amigos Composer - uncredited (Posthumous release)
1949 The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad Songwriter: "The Merrily Song" (Posthumous release)

Gallery

Sources


v - e - d
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1920’s—1970’s
Disney's Nine Old Men: Milt KahlFrank ThomasOllie JohnstonLes ClarkJohn LounsberyMarc DavisWard KimballEric LarsonWolfgang Reitherman

Animators: Bill TytlaArt BabbittLee BlairPreston BlairFred MooreShamus CulhaneCy YoungDon LuskNorman FergusonHal KingJack HannahDick KinneyHal AmbroKen O'BrienJudge WhitakerBill JusticeDon BluthGary GoldmanCharles A. NicholsBlaine GibsonJohn EwingWalt StanchfieldFred HellmichAmby PaliwodaWilfred JacksonXavier AtencioBen SharpsteenEarl HurdDale OliverEric CleworthDavid HandFred SpencerJulius SvendsenEd BenedictKenneth MuseRudolf Ising
Visual Development, Layout, Background Artists and Character Designers: Gustaf TenggrenMary BlairMarjorie RalstonLillian BoundsJoe GrantMel ShawClaude CoatsDon DaGradiJohn HenchEyvind EarleKen O'ConnorThor PutnamAlbert HurterJohn HubleyHerbert RymanDon GriffithBasil DavidovichJack BoydPeter EllenshawRuthie Tompson
Storyboard Artists and Writers: Bill PeetRalph WrightDick HuemerFloyd NormanYale GraceyTed SearsErdman PennerJoe RinaldiWinston HiblerOtto EnglanderWilliam CottrellBill BergAl BertinoT. HeeHomer BrightmanTed OsbourneLarry ClemmonsHarry Reeves
Directors: Clyde GeronimiHamilton LuskeJack KinneyTed BermanRichard RichNathan GrenoGeorge ScribnerRiley Thomson
Producers: Walt DisneyRon MillerKen AndersonDon DuckwallPerce Pearce

1980’s—Present
Renaissance Directors: Rob MinkoffRoger AllersGary TrousdaleKirk WiseChris SandersMark DindalJohn Musker

Story Trust Directors: Ron ClementsChris BuckByron HowardDon HallChris WilliamsRich MooreStephen J. Anderson
Producers: Peter Del VechoClark SpencerRoy ConliDorothy McKimDon Hahn
Chief Creative Officer: Jennifer Lee
Associated Figures: Bob IgerRoy Edward DisneyMichael EisnerJohn LasseterEd CatmullJeffrey KatzenbergBob Chapek
Signature Voice Actors: Jim CummingsAlan TudykKatie LowesJohn DiMaggioMaurice LaMarcheJodi BensonDavid Ogden StiersJesse CortiPaul BriggsRaymond S. PersiPhil JohnstonFrank WelkerBill FarmerBrian Cummings
Signature Musicians: Sherman Brothers Robert B. Sherman Richard Sherman Alan Menken Kristen Anderson-Lopez Robert LopezLin-Manuel MirandaHoward AshmanTim RicePhil CollinsGlenn SlaterStephen SchwartzMarc Shaiman
Supervising Animators: Glen KeaneAndreas DejaAlex KupershmidtEric GoldbergMark HennJohn PomeroyRandy HaycockDale BaerT. Daniel HofstedtTony BancroftTom BancroftTony FucileAnthony DeRosaRuss EdmondsMichael SurreyBruce W.SmithDuncan MarjoribanksRuben AquinoNik RanieriRon HusbandRick FarmiloeTom SitoTony AnselmoRandy Cartwright
Visual Development & Storyboard Artists: Dean DeBloisLisa KeeneClaire KeaneBrittney LeeJin KimShiyoon KimCory Loftis

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