Leigh Adrian Harline (March 26, 1907 – December 10, 1969) was an American film composer and songwriter, who 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. Harline was born on 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. Leigh was baptized a member of the LDS Church at age eight.
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 working 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, along with Paul Smith and Larry Morey, then helped Frank Churchill to score 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.”
Next Harline scored Pinocchio for Disney in 1940. The film won his Academy Award for Best Original Music Score, and the song “When You Wish Upon a Star” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song. Harline left Disney in 1941 to compose for other studios. His later 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), 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.
My collection includes the following work by Leigh Harline:
Pinocchio: Symphonic Suite.