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Fred Steiner


SCL Member News – Monday, June 27, 2011


The SCL was saddened to learn of the passing of Fred Steiner, a long time member of this organization, and one of the pillars of the community. His list of credits embodied the best work in television of his generation. His scores to Gunsmoke, Rawhide and the Twilight Zone helped to elevate these shows to, not only, the top of the ratings charts, but his superb craftsmanship helped elevate our profession to a higher level with his acute knowledge of the art of film composition. Many of us were fortunate to spend an evening with Fred as he discussed the compositional nuances of one of the earliest recognized masterpieces, King Kong. Fred was always, intrigued with our shared experiences in film scoring and was happy to give of his time to perpetuate it.
In his later years he added his touch to the Star Trek franchises. This was fitting, as he was instrumental in creating its musical palette in the first years of the series. For those of us who have done work in the theme song arena, Fred’s main title for Perry Mason was perhaps his crowning jewel. I can think of no composition that spoke more to the essence of what a show was about. From the opening orchestral stings, followed by the sensuous 12/8 trombone and piano accents leading to the jazzy/bluesy melody in the trumpets, his theme gave the arch of an entire composition within the minute framework, perfectly setting the mood for what the audience was about to experience. We’ll miss Fred and what he so eloquently brought to our community. Our thoughts go out to his family, which includes his longtime wife, Shirley and two daughters, Jillian Sandrock and the celebrated singer/songwriter, Wendy Waldman.

You can read Wendy Waldman’s reflections at:

See the Variety article about Fred Steiner by Jon Burlingame at:

Los Angeles Times article:,0,7265403.story