André Previn, who composed the scores for Hollywood classics ranging from Elmer Gantry and Long Day's Journey Into Night to myriad movie musical and also had a thriving career as a recording artist, has died at his Manhattan home. He was 89.
Though a prolific composer for film and an accomplished jazz musician, Mr. Previn's sole Broadway score was with lyricist Alan Jay Lerner for 1969's Coco, the musical about Coco Chanel starring Katharine Hepburn. He also penned two operas—adaptations of A Streetcar Named Desire (1998) and Brief Encounter (2007)—as well as the London musical Good Companions.
Born in Berlin in 1929, Mr. Previn and his family emigrated to Los Angeles in 1939. He got his start at film studios (ultimately setting a record for three Academy Award nominations in a single year), but mostly stopped working in film after the 1960s. Instead, he focused on his recording and conducting career, returning to his jazz roots in the late 1980s and recording several albums in that genre (he had previously recorded with singers including Dinah Washington and Doris Day).
Over the years, he served as principal conductor for the Houston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He also served as music conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Though he only wrote one Broadway show, Previn's Academy Awards came courtesy of four movie musicals: Porgy and Bess and Gigi (Best Scoring of a Musical Picture) and Irma La Douce and My Fair Lady (Best Adaptation or Treatment).