March 26, 1907 – Composer and Disney Legend Leigh Harline is Born
“[Harline’s songs] seemed like symphonic writing by a good classical composer.” – Director Wilfred Jackson
On March 26, 1907, Leigh Harline was born to a large family in Salt Lake City. After majoring in music at the University of Utah, he moved to California in 1928 to work as a composer, conductor, arranger, instrumentalist, singer, and announcer for various radio stations. He joined the Disney Studios in 1932, and quickly set to work writing music for the Silly Symphony series. After acknowledging the innovative ways of using music to tell the story, Walt Disney gave Harline the plum role of scoring the studio’s first full-length animated feature film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, alongside fellow Disney Legend Frank Churchill. Harline and Churchill’s work on the film scored them an Oscar nomination for Best Music and Score. Afterwards, he was asked to work on Pinocchio, which scored him two Oscars: Best Music and Original Score, and Best Song for the classic “When You Wish Upon a Star.” He left in 1941 to work at several other studios as a freelance composer, and racked up eight additional Oscar nominations throughout his career. In the 1960s, Harline added television scoring to his repertoire, scoring for several popular series, such as Daniel Boone, featuring another Disney Legend, Fess Parker. On December 10, 1969, Harline passed away in Long Beach, California. For his work on early Disney shorts, and for creating one of the most iconic songs from the studio, he was inducted as a Disney Legend in 2001.