Angela Morley, film/tv composer, dies

Angela Morley, three-time Emmy winner and two-time Oscar nominee for her film and television music and one of England’s best-known arrangers, died Wednesday, Jan. 14 of complications from a fall and subsequent heart attack. She was 84.

Morley won Emmys as an arranger for two Julie Andrews specials (in 1988 and 1990) and a “Christmas in Washington” special (1985). Her Oscar nominations were for adapting the songs in the musicals “The Little Prince” (1974) and “The Slipper and the Rose” (1977).

She also composed several film scores including the animated “Watership Down” (1978) and, under her birth name of Walter Stott, “The Looking Glass War” (1969), “Captain Nemo and the Underwater City” (1969), “When Eight Bells Toll” (1971) and several low-budget British features in the 1950s.

Morley scored dozens of TV series episodes in the 1970s and ’80s, receiving Emmy nominations for her work on “Dallas”, “Dynasty”, “Blue Skies” and “Emerald Point N.A.S.”; she also scored “Falcon Crest” “Hotel” “Wonder Woman” and other shows. She also scored four TV-movies and received 11 Emmy nominations in all.

She also contributed orchestrations to nearly three dozen films, among them such John Williams scores as “Star Wars”, “Superman”, “E.T., the Extra-Terrestrial”, “Schindler’s List” and “Home Alone”.

Born Walter Stott in Leeds, Yorkshire, he played alto saxophone in English big-bands of the 1940s but became a full-time arranger in 1950, eventually arranging records for such popular singers as Mel Torme, Rosemary Clooney, Marlene Dietrich and Noel Coward.

He wrote and conducted music for BBC Radio’s popular “Goon Show” in the 1950s and was active on the British music scene as an arranger-conductor throughout the 1960s. He became Angela Morley in 1972 and conducted the BBC Radio Orchestra during the 1970s. She moved to the U.S. in 1980.