Newman comes from a Russian immigrant family. Among his nine siblings were his older brother Alfred and Lionel, born in 1916, both of which were also known as composers of film music. Thus Emil Newman is the uncle of Randy, David and Thomas Newman, who also prescribed the film music.
From 1940, Newman worked as a music director in the film industry and acted as such until the 19760er years more than 170 film productions. In the early 1940s, he made his debut as an independent composer and worked as such in more than 40 films and several television series with. For his work on Adopted Fortunately, he was nominated for the 1942 Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Newman was married to his wife's death in 1972 and the father of two children.