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David Raksin - 1912 - 2004
David Raksin

Known for his work on 'Modern Times'
died August 9, 2004
(photo from: Music from the Movies)

August 4, 1912 -August 9, 2004
David Raksin, Oscar-nominated composer, died at his California home Monday, August 9, 2004, after heart failure. He was 92. Raksin is best known to Chaplin fans for his work in helping Chaplin write Chaplin's music for 'Modern Times', but had created many classics over his long career. See links below on more about his career.

I included some words here from David Robinson's 'Chaplin: His Life and Art'.

A few words about Raksin working with Chaplin from
David Robinson's "Chaplin: His Life and Art"
Music for 'Modern Times':
First time Charlie Chaplin and David Raksin Met

'Work on the music (for ‘Modern Times’) began in August 1935. Alfred Newman, whose collaboration on ‘City Lights’ had given Chaplin great satisfaction, was again to be musical director, and Edward Powell was engaged as orchestrator. Powell wired to the East Coast to invite a talented colleague from his days with the music publishers, Harms, David Raksin, to join him.

Raksin, who has vividly and sensitively recorded his impressions of working with Chaplin, recalls that Powell’s telegram arrived on 8 August 1935, four days after his twenty-third birthday. Chaplin, having been promised a musician who was ‘brilliant, experienced, a composer, orchestrator, and arranger with several big shows in his arranging cap’ confided that he was somewhat disconcerted when ‘this infant shows up’.

Raksin for his part was captivated by Chaplin, loved ‘Modern Times’ and laughed at it so hard that Chaplin wondered for a time whether he was exaggerating for his benefit.'

Raksin was hired by Chaplin, but fired only after a week and a half, but was quickly hired again. Raksin told Chaplin during this time:

"If you needed someone who loved his pictures and was prepared to risk getting fired every day to make sure that the music was as good as it could possibly be, then I would love to work with him again"

This was the beginning of "four and a half months of work and some of the happiest days of my life".

'The music (for 'Modern Times') was finally completed on December 22, 1935. Years later the former cordiality between Chaplin and Raksin was resumed: the musician last visited the (Chaplin) Studio the day before Chaplin's final departure from America in 1952.'

-From David Robinson's 'Chaplin: His Life and Art'

Learn more about David Raksin and Charlie Chaplin's work during 'Modern Times' in David Robinson's 'Chaplin: His Life and Art'. (pages 469-472)

Jaunary 3, 1986 - KPFA 3-Part Interview with David Raksin on Morning Concert.

Movies on the Radio with David Garland - Music: David Raksin's 'Laura' January 2011

Here are a couple links to news stories on David Raksin.
Check Google News for more stories worldwide:

Guardian Unlimited Art News

Side Note: Fay Wray died Sunday, August 8th, 2004. She is most remembered for her starring role in the 1930's 'King Kong'. In this article from the Telegraph UK, she remembers the silent stars, including Charlie Chaplin

March 3, 2009 - Sydney Chaplin (Charlie and Lita Grey Chaplin's son) died. He was born March 30, 1926. More

Linda Wada


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