Paul Smith (film and television composer)

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For other people of the same name, see Paul Smith (disambiguation).
Paul Smith
Born Paul J. Smith
(1906-10-30)October 30, 1906
Calumet, Michigan
Died January 25, 1985(1985-01-25) (aged 78)
Glendale, California
Cause of death Alzheimer's Disease
Occupation American film composer
Years active 1940-1985

Paul J. Smith (October 30, 1906 - January 25, 1985) was an American music composer.


He was born in Calumet, Michigan on October 30, 1906. Upon graduating high school, Smith studied music at The College of Idaho from 1923 to 1925 before he was accepted into the Bush Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. His musical genius in theory and composition earned him a scholarship in music theory to study at Julliard. However, it is unclear if he ever pursued this invitation.[1] Smith spent much of his life working at Disney as composer for many of its films' scores, animated and live-action alike, movie and television alike (from 1962 to 1963, he also composed music for Leave It to Beaver). In Fantasia, he is one of the studio employees in the orchestra. He also composed the scores for several of the True-Life Adventures episodes. His addition to this series would be his most influential mark in music and become a fundamental part of the education for generations of American students.[2] His main collaborator and partner was Hazel "Gil" George. She wrote the song title for The Light in the Forest with him and Lawrence Edward Watkin. Smith also did the stock music for the Blondie series of the late 1940s and early 1950s. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Score with Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Pinocchio as his first and only Oscar win.


He died on January 25, 1985 in Glendale, California, from Alzheimer's Disease at age 78.

In 1994, he was posthumously honored as a Disney Legend.

Animation scores

Live-action scores (not counting TV)


  1. The College of Idaho Department of Music. A Tribute to Professors: Beale, Smith, Skyrm, Davidson, Cerveny, and Gabbard. The College of Idaho. pp. 5–7. 
  2. Macdonald, Scott (Spring 2006). "Up Close and Political : The Short Ruminations on Ideology in the Nature Film". Film Quarterly. 3 (59). 

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