Riddle, Nelson

Riddle, Nelson
   Grammy- and Oscar-winning composer Nelson Riddle, who wrote and conducted the score for LOLITA (1961), was perhaps most famous for his lush, orchestral background music for pop singers, ranging from Frank Sinatra to Nat “King” Cole to Linda Ronstadt. One of his single most famous compositions was 1962’s “Theme from Route 66. ” His Academy Award came in 1975, for The Great Gatsby (1974).
   The theme for Lolita was actually composed by Bob Harris, brother of producer JAMES B. HARRIS. The theme was not written specifically for the film, but when STANLEY KUBRICK heard it, he decided he had to use it. According to VINCENT LOBRUTTO, Kubrick had initially approached legendary film music composer Bernard Herrmann to score Lolita, but Herrmann declined when he learned that he would have to use Bob Harris’s theme song. Lolita employs Riddle’s music in an appropriately schizophrenic manner: Some scenes are supported with “wall-to-wall,” melodramatic music, of the lush variety for which Riddle is well known. By contrast, long sections of the film, particularly after the death of Charlotte Haze (SHELLEY WINTERS), unfold with no music at all. This strategy allows an ironic tone to emerge whenever the music is on full blast—as in many of the scenes in the Haze household, which typify the film’s satirical stance toward suburban life. The result is far more effective than Riddle’s initial impulse would have been: originally, he scored the love theme in a minor key, to give a dissonant counterpoint the feelings that Humbert (JAMES MASON) harbors for Lolita (SUE LYON). Kubrick and Harris insisted that the love theme be played straight, so as not to go after a too-easy disparagement of Humbert’s character.
   As a boy, Nelson Riddle’s first musical instrument was the piano, but at age 14 he took up the trombone. After serving in World War II, he played in a number of prominent big bands, including those of Charlie Spivak, Jerry Wald, and Tommy Dorsey. In the late 1940s, Riddle worked as a staff arranger for NBC in Hollywood. Then he was hired by Capitol Records, where he did arrangements for Cole and Sinatra. Soon garnering the reputation as the best arranger in Hollywood, Riddle worked with many of the top singers of the day, including Ella Fitzgerald, Judy Garland, Dinah Shore, Betty Hutton, Johnny Mathis, and Peggy Lee. Riddle’s other work in film scoring has included Can-Can (1960), Oceans Eleven (1960), El Dorado (1967), and Paint Your Wagon (1969). He also wrote music for several television shows, including Batman, The Man From U. N. C. L. E. , Laugh-In, Barnaby Jones, Emergency!, and The Love Boat.
   Riddle served as music director at the inaugurations of both President John F. Kennedy, in 1961, and President Ronald Reagan, in 1985. His last concert appearance was in September 1985, scarcely three weeks before his death, when he provided the music for the Emmy Awards Governors Ball.
   ■ LoBrutto, Vincent, Stanley Kubrick: A Biography (New York: Da Capo, 1999);
   ■ “Nelson Riddle, Award-Winning Composer-Arranger, Dead at 64,” Variety, Riddle, Nelson n 299 October 9, 1985;
   ■ “Nelson Riddle,” Internet Movie Database, www.imdb.com.

The Encyclopedia of Stanley Kubrick. . 2002.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Riddle, Nelson — ▪ American musician born June 1, 1921, Oradell, N.J., U.S. died Oct. 6, 1985, Los Angeles, Calif.       American popular music arranger, conductor, and composer, regarded as the premier 20th century arranger for popular singers.       Riddle… …   Universalium

  • Nelson Riddle — Nelson Riddle, Jr. Born Nelson Smock Riddle, Jr. June 1, 1921(1921 06 01) Oradell, New Jersey U.S. Died October 6, 1985(1985 10 06) (aged 64) Occupation Arranger, orchestrator, band leader …   Wikipedia

  • Nelson Riddle — Nelson Smock Riddle, Jr. (1 de junio de 1921 – 6 de octubre de 1985) fue un conocido director de orquesta, arreglista y orquestador estadounidense cuya carrera se desarrolló desde finales de los años cuarenta hasta comienzos de los ochenta.… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Nelson Riddle — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Riddle. Nelson Riddle est un compositeur et acteur américain né le 1er juin 1921 à Oradell, New Jersey (États Unis), décédé le 6 octobre 1985 à Los Angeles (Californie). Sommaire …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Nelson Riddle — (* 1. Juni 1921 in Oradell, New Jersey; † 6. Oktober 1985 in Los Angeles) war ein US amerikanischer Arrangeur, Komponist und Bigband Leader. Leben Nelson Riddle, der als Posaunist seine Musikerlaufbahn begann, war einer der herausragenden US… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Riddle (disambiguation) — Riddle may refer to: *Riddle, a form of a word puzzle **The World riddle of Friedrich Nietzsche, the meaning of life **Riddle of the Sphinx **The Riddle SongPeople*Almeda Riddle (1898 1986), American folk singer *George R. Riddle (1817 1867),… …   Wikipedia

  • Nelson Goodman — Full name Nelson Goodman Born August 7, 1906 Died November 25, 1998(1998 11 25) (aged 92) Era 20th century philosophy Region Western Philosophy …   Wikipedia

  • Riddle — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Albert G. Riddle (1816–1902), US amerikanischer Politiker George R. Riddle (1817–1867), US amerikanischer Politiker Hal Riddle (1919–2009), US amerikanischer Schauspieler und Sammler Haywood Yancey Riddle… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Nelson (given name) — Nelson is an English given name, in origin derived from the patronymic son of Neil . The following is a list of people with the given name Nelson: Contents 1 Arts and entertainment 2 Sport 2.1 Footballers 2.2 …   Wikipedia

  • Nelson (Vorname) — Nelson ist ein männlicher Vorname, der häufig im portugiesischen Sprachraum vorkommt.[1] Inhaltsverzeichnis 1 Herkunft und Bedeutung 2 Bekannte Namensträger 2.1 Vorname …   Deutsch Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.