Oliver Wallace

Oliver George Wallace ( born August 6, 1887 in London, † September 15, 1963 in Los Angeles, California ) was a British- American composer and conductor. He is known primarily for his film scores, he has created for animation, documentaries and feature films from Walt Disney Studios.

Life and work

Oliver Wallace was born on August 6, 1887 in London. After completing his musical education, he went to the United States, where he first priority on the west coast working as a conductor of theater orchestras and as an organist accompanying silent films in cinemas. At the same time he made himself a name as a songwriter, as with the popular " Hindustan ". With the advent of sound film he worked in the early 1930s also increasingly for movie studios in Hollywood.

His actual career as a film composer did not start until 1936, when he joined the Disney studio. He soon became one of the most important composers of the studio for his short animated films that Wallace knew far more than 100 with music. His most famous work in this area is the song " Der Fuehrer 's Face " from the eponymous Donald Duck propaganda cartoon from 1942., The parody of the Horst- Wessel-Lied was mainly due to the interpretation of " Spike Jones and His City Slickers " one of the biggest hits during the Second world War. More highly original film scores created Wallace later also for the shorter cartoons Ben and I ( Ben and Me, 1953) on Benjamin Franklin and the company's Oscar winning The Music Lesson ( Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom, 1953) - the first cartoon in the new CinemaScope process.

But Walt Disney entrusted him with music for the feature-length movies of the studio. Wallace's first big success was about Dumbo ( Dumbo, 1941), for which he won in 1942 his first and only Oscar together with Frank Churchill. Later known films were Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp. Characteristic of all these productions was that they emerged as musicals in community work of several composers. Wallace knew it masterfully, leitmotiv like to integrate the individual songs in the instrumental part of the film scores. It reach him but also often become showpieces such as " The March of the Cards " ( " Playing Cards March" ) from Alice in Wonderland, a total of one of his best performances.

When the Disney studios also produced increasingly pure play movies from the 1950s, Wallace also wrote for scores. As gelungenstes example of the fantasy film can The Darby O'Gill ( Darby O'Gill and the Little People, 1959) apply to the Wallace not only the music, but to the texts by Lawrence Edward Watkin, the two popular songs "Pretty Irish Girl "and" The Wishing song " wrote. In My boyfriend Stubbs ( Toby Tyler, or Ten Weeks With the Circus, 1959), to which he had not, however, wrote the music, he also appeared as an actor - he played the conductor of the circus band.

Starting with The Robben Island (1948 ) Wallace also developed into a specialist for the background music of Disney documentaries, including almost all films of the " People and Places " series ( "Country and People") and some of the "True Life Adventures " ( "Adventures in the realm of nature "). There were not always particularly subtle, but very lively scores. The music of White Wilderness ( White Wilderness, 1958) was even nominated for an Oscar in 1959, which was an unusual honor for a documentary.

Overall, Oliver Wallace was involved in nearly 150 Walt Disney productions in various musical features. For the studio he remained until shortly before his death at the age of 76 years on September 15, 1963 in Los Angeles active.


In addition, Wallace has received four other Oscar nominations for the music to the movies Victory Through Air Power ( 1943), Cinderella ( Cinderella, 1950), Alice in Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland, 1951) and White Wilderness ( White Wilderness, 1957).

  • 2008: nomination for Disney Legend ( posthumously )

Filmography (selection)

Most of the listed film scores created in collaboration with other composers: