Friday, February 22, 2013


Which of the following Hollywood actors has composed a symphony?

- Clint Eastwood
- Shirley Temple
- Mickey Rooney
- Russell Crowe
- Alec Baldwin

The answer is Mickey Rooney. As Dorothy Lamb Crawford writes in her book, A Windfall of Musicians: Hitler's Emigres and Exiles in Southern California (pp.31-32): "Americans amongst filmdom's celebrities of the time - notably composers George Gershwin, the recently arrived George Antheil, and composer-actor Lionel Barrymore - also supported and welcomed the musicians fleeing Hitler's Europe. Barrymore and Mickey Rooney would both study composition with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and each would produce a symphony."

Of course, Clint Eastwood conceives the music for his films, and Shirley Temple and Russell Crowe have both sung on film. Alec Baldwin is radio series host (or 'announcer in chief') for the New York Philharmonic. But they haven't composed symphonies so far as I know.

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