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John Towner Williams
* February 8, 1932 (New York)

Father: Johnny Williams (Jazz Drummer)
Mother: Esther Williams

Brothers: Jerry, Don
Sister: Joan

First Wife (married in 1956): Barbara Ruick (died 1974)
Second Wife (married in 1980): Samantha Winslow

Sons: Joseph, Mark
Daughter: Jennifer

Instruments: Piano, Trombone, Trumpet, Clarinet


John Williams
c/o Symphony Hall
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Boston, MA 02115


John Williams
c/o The Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency
13245 Riverside Drive ~ #450
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

John Williams: The Early Years

John Williams and his Family

John Williams and the Boston Pops

John Williams' Long-Time Collaborators

John Williams
received the
AFI Life Achievement Award
in June 2016

John Williams
at Kennedy Center where he was honored for his
lifelong contribution to American culture.
(Dec 12, 2004)

John Williams receives an Academy Award for STAR WARS (1977).

5 Academy Awards

1. Fiddler on the Roof (1971)
2. Jaws (1975)
3. Star Wars (1977)
4. E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
5. Schindler's List (1993)

John Williams is the second most-nominated person after Walt Disney.

54 Academy Award Nominations

INDIANA JONES AND THE DIAL OF DESTINY (2023) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

THE FABELMANS (2022) -– Nominee, Music (Original Score)

STAR WARS - THE RISE OF SKYWALKER (2019) -– Nominee, Music (Original Score)

STAR WARS - THE LAST JEDI (2017) -– Nominee, Music (Original Score)

STAR WARS - THE FORCE AWAKENS (2015) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

THE BOOK THIEF (2013) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

LINCOLN (2012) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

WAR HORSE (2011) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN (2011) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

MUNICH (2005) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (2005) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN (2004) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN (2002) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE (2001) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

A.I. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (2001) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

THE PATRIOT (2000) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

ANGELA'S ASHES (1999) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

SAVING PRIVATE RYAN (1998) -- Nominee, Music (Original Dramatic Score)

AMISTAD (1997) -- Nominee, Music (Original Dramatic Score)

SLEEPERS (1996) -- Nominee, Music (Original Dramatic Score)

NIXON (1995) -- Nominee, Music (Original Dramatic Score)

SABRINA (1995) -- Nominee, Music (Original Musical or Comedy Score)

SABRINA (1995) -- Nominee, Music (Original Song) [Song: Moonlight]

JFK (1991) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

HOOK (1991) -- Nominee, Music (Original Song) [Song: When You're Alone]

HOME ALONE (1990) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

HOME ALONE (1990) -- Nominee, Music (Original Song) [Song: Somewhere in My Memory]

BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY (1989) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

INDIANA JONES AND THE LAST CRUSADE (1989) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST (1988) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

EMPIRE OF THE SUN (1987) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

THE WITCHES OF EASTWICK (1987) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

INDIANA JONES AND THE TEMPLE OF DOOM (1984) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

THE RIVER (1984) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

YES, GIORGIO (1982) -- Nominee, Music (Original Song) [Song: If We Were in Love]

RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

SUPERMAN (1978) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score)

THE TOWERING INFERNO (1974) -- Nominee, Music (Original Dramatic Score)

CINDERELLA LIBERTY (1973) -- Nominee, Music (Original Dramatic Score)

TOM SAWYER (1973) -- Nominee, Music (Scoring: Original Song Score and Adaptation -or- Scoring: Adaptation)

CINDERELLA LIBERTY (1973) -- Nominee, Music (Song) [Song: Nice to Be Around]

THE POSEIDON ADVENTURE (1972) -- Nominee, Music (Original Dramatic Score)

IMAGES (1972) -- Nominee, Music (Original Dramatic Score)

THE REIVERS (1969) -- Nominee, Music (Original Score--for a motion picture [not a musical])

GOODBYE, MR. CHIPS (1969) -- Nominee, Music (Score of a Musical Picture--original or adaptation)

VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1967) -- Nominee, Music (Scoring of Music--adaptation or treatment)


4 Golden Globes
1. Jaws (1975)
2. Star Wars (1977)
3. E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
4. Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)


22 Grammy Awards

1. Jaws (1975) (Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture)
2. Star Wars (1977) (Best Pop Instrumental Performance)
3. Main Title from Star Wars (1977) (Best Instrumental Composition)
4. Star Wars (1977) (Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture)
5. Theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1978) (Best Instrumental Composition)
6. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1978) (Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture)
7. Main Title Theme from Superman (1979) (Best Instrumental Composition)
8. Superman (1979) (Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture)
9. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (Best Instrumental Composition)
10. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) (Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture)
11. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) (Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture)
12. "Flying" (Theme from E.T.) (1982) (Best Instrumental Composition)
13. E.T. (1982) (Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture)
14. "Flying" (Theme from E.T.) (1982) (Best Arrangement on an Instrumental Recording)
15. Olympic Fanfare and Theme (1984) (Best Instrumental Composition)
16. Schindler's List (1994) (Instrumental Composition for a Motion Picture or Television)
17. Saving Private Ryan (1998) (Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television)
18. Theme from Angela's Ashes (2000) (Best Instrumental Composition)

19. Memoirs of a Geisha (2006) (Best Score Soundtrack Album For Motion Picture)
20. A Prayer For Peace (2006) (Best Instrumental Composition)
21. The Adventures of Mutt (2008) (Best Instrumental Composition)
22. The Book Thief (2014) (Best Instrumental Composition)
23. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) (Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media) *WINNER*
24. “Escapades For Alto Saxophone And Orchestra From Catch Me If You Can (2018) (Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella) *WINNER*
25. “Mine Mission” from Solo: A Star Wars Story (2019) (John Powell & John Williams) (Best Instrumental Composition)
26. The Last Jedi (2019) (Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media)
27. “Hedwig’s Theme” for Violin and Orchestra (2020) (Best Arrangement, Instrumental or A Cappella)
28. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Symphonic Suite (2020) (Best Instrumental Composition) *WINNER*
29. Star Wars: The Rise Of Skywalker (2021) (Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media)
30. John Williams – The Berlin Concert (2023) (Best Orchestral Performance)
31. The Fabelmans (2024) (Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media)
32. Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2024) (Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media)
33. “Helena’s Theme” from Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny (2024) (Best Instrumental Composition)

Honorary Degrees
John Williams holds honorary degrees from 14 American universities,

among them:

Berklee College
Tufts University
University of South Carolina at Columbia
Boston University
New England Conservatory of Music
University of Massachusetts at Boston



On Conducting

"My greatest joy is always the first day of the recording session. All of the brain busting, back-straining labor of writing the music is behind one and all of the difficulties of dubbing and assimilation of the score to the soundtrack has yet to happen and is ahead of you. There's a moment of exhilaration and pure pleasure in just performing the music and hearing the orchestra play it. That's the high point I think for most composers."

On Success

"We can't anticipate success in the things that we do. You may write a sentence that will become chiseled in marble on someone's library, but you don't know that when you write it. And that's usually not the best motivation behind that kind of creative activity anyway. I think if it's fantastic and fun and adventurous, that gives us our best time, and very often will give us our best result also. These films, and the STAR WARS films, all of us working on those just regard them as something that would be fun for kids to see on Saturday morning and none of us, including George Lucas himself, ever had any anticipation that they would become as successful as they have become. I think that's after the fact, and if any of us could predict what ingredients or what series of mental attitudes could be strung together to create that kind of success, if we could do it on order, we'd all be multi-billionaires. But you can't. It's more elusive and more subtle, and as a consequence more interesting and even more fun."

On Steven Spielberg

"He is always close at hand, in a very positive way, musically: He's extremely fond of music. His greatest pleasure, he tells me ... and I believe him ... is the time when he can come sit on the stage and listen to the orchestra play as we accompany his film. In the weeks that precede that, when I'm writing, he likes to come into my office and hear me playing what I'm doing on the piano. He'll sit and always enjoy it, and he's very helpful, particularly in areas of rhythm. When I'm looking at a film on a moviola I'll be plotting out tempos and rhythmic approaches and he's very sensitive to whether this is faster than that ... or that is slower than this. He's a very good musician in his natural impulses, and always contributes in an interested and very wholesome way. It's wonderful to be around someone who loves music as much as he does."

On the "Raiders March"

"A piece like that is deceptively simple to try to find the few right notes that will make a right leitmotivic identification for a character like Indiana Jones. I remember working on that thing for days, changing notes, changing this, inverting that, trying to get something that seemed to me to be just right. I can't speak for my colleagues but for me things which appear to be very simple are not at all, they're only simple after the fact. The manufacture of these things which seem inevitable is a process that can be laborious and difficult."

On the Hollywood tradition

"I do think that one can acknowledge a tradition that exists certainly in film ... in silent movies and action movies and serial movies later ... that had music of some kind. All of the comedy and the melodrama that came out of popular entertainment, of vaudeville and peripherally I suppose opera, created a tradition that still is alive in things like RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and Indiana Jones and Hollywood. Whether one studies these things or not as part of the fabric of our entertainment culture and the Hollywood film medium in particular, they've become part of our musical heritage in the aggregate of all of these experiences that we've had over a hundred years now."

© MH