W. Franke Harling

W. Franke Harling (January 18, 1887 – November 22, 1958) was a composer of film scores, operas, and popular music.

Life and career

Born William Franke Harling in London, he was educated at the Grace Choir Church School in New York City. After working as an organist and choir director at the Church of the Resurrection in Brussels, he spent two years at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and composed both its hymn, called "The Corps," and its official march, "West Point Forever." [1]

In 1918, Harling contributed incidental music to the Broadway production of the 1898 play Pan and the Young Shepherd by Maurice Hewlett.[2] In 1926, he collaborated with Laurence Stallings on Deep River, a voodoo-themed opera set in New Orleans in 1835. It opened on Broadway at the Imperial Theatre on October 4 and ran for 32 performances.[3]

Harling began his Hollywood career in 1928. His film credits include The Vagabond King, This Is the Night, So Big!, A Bill of Divorcement, Blonde Venus, A Farewell to Arms, The Bitter Tea of General Yen, Monte Carlo, Souls at Sea, and Penny Serenade.

Harling won the Academy Award for Best Music Scoring for Stagecoach (1939) and was nominated for Souls at Sea (1937) and Three Russian Girls (1944).[4]

Harling's popular songs include "Beyond the Blue Horizon" (with Richard A. Whiting) popularized by Jeanette MacDonald in 1930 and Lou Christie thirty years later, and "Sing, You Sinners", originally performed by Lillian Roth in 1930 and a hit for Tony Bennett in 1950.

Harling won the Bispham Memorial Medal Award for his jazz-oriented opera A Light from St. Agnes.[5]

Harling died in Sierra Madre, California and is buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Hollywood Hills.[6]

Selected filmography

Selected songs


  1. Nolan, Frederick, Lorenz Hart: A Poet on Broadway. Oxford University Press 1995. ISBN 0-19-510289-4, pp. 46–47
  2. League, The Broadway. "Pan and the Young Shepherd – IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  3. League, The Broadway. "Deep River – IBDB: The official source for Broadway Information". Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  4. "Loading....". Retrieved 6 July 2016.
  5. Howard, John Tasker, Our American Music: Three Hundred Years of It (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1936)
  6. "W. Franke Harling (1887–1958) – Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved 6 July 2016.
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