May 14, 2004 by

Fred Karlin

9 comments

Categories: Hollywood, Musicians, Writers/Editors

Frederick James Karlin, an Academy Award-winning film composer, died on March 26 of cancer. He was 67.
The Chicago native was only a teenager when he learned the trumpet and began studying jazz. After graduating from Amherst College, he moved to New York City to work as a composer and arranger for Benny Goodman. In 1962, he met Meg Welles, and became music director of her chamber jazz quintet, the Meg Welles Quintet. They married and recorded three albums together with Columbia Records.
Skilled in blues, classical, rock, folk and medieval music, Karlin launched his Hollywood career in 1969. Over the next three decades, he created scores and soundtracks for 30 films and more than 100 TV productions. He was best known for his work on the 1973 science fiction thriller, “Westworld,” and its sequel, “Futureworld.”
Karlin received four Oscar nominations for songs he composed for “The Sterile Cuckoo,” “The Baby Maker” and “The Little Ark.” His song, “For All We Know,” won the 1971 Academy Award after it was featured in the film “Lovers and Other Strangers.” The song also became a top 10 hit for the Carpenters. Three years later, Karlin won an Emmy Award for his score of the TV movie “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.”
In recent years, Karlin co-authored “On the Track: A Guide to Contemporary Film Scoring,” with Rayburn Wright, and penned “Listening to Movies: The Film Lover’s Guide to Film Music.” His final book, “Great Film Scores,” is scheduled for publication later this year.
Listen to Excerpts From Film Soundtracks Created by Karlin

9 Responses to Fred Karlin

  1. Al Kuhn

    Played tennis with Freddie at Evanston High before he transferred to New Trier. A great kid. Once, at some tennis tournament (Freddie was very good then) I broke him up trying to get a sound out of his trumpet. I blew and blew into the mouthpiece but the only sound was Frddie’s laughing. Last time I saw him was on Rush Street in the middle fifties, he was heading to a nearby jazz club. I liked him a lot. Al Kuhn

  2. Ted Melyan

    I had the pleasure of meeting Fred Karlin in 1962 at the Eastman School of Music, where he and Rayburn Wright instituted and taught a unique, Summer course called, “Arrangers’ Holiday.” It was a two-week course that ran from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. six days a week, with time out for lunch and dinner. There were class sessions, written tests, as well as arranging time spent in practice rooms, and scheduled rehearsal sessions with various sized groups, on stage at the Eastman Theater, to play our arrangements.
    The course was designed for musicians with sufficient musical training to be able to complete the assigned arranging tasks. The students ranged in age from twenty to sixty, and their arranging skills ranged from moderate to professional. A few of the older students were emplyed as staff arrangers at TV stations.
    The climax of THE ARRANGERS’ HOLIDAY was a concert presented at the wonderful Eastman Theater, featuring arrangements by each member of the class, as well as by Fred Karlin, Rayburn Wright and Dr. McHose playing his arrangement of a concerto for 4-manual pipe organ and large orchestra.
    Fred Karlin and Rayburn Wright saw to it that the technical competence of the musicians playing our arrangements in concert was outstanding. Soloists, combos and orchestral members were selected from the Eastman Wind Ensemble, faculty members, local combos and international soloists (Olatunji, etc.).
    Fred was a talented, dedicated Jazz mujsician and teacher; he gladly shared with us his knowledge of current arranging techniques in many styles and for various groups – some teachers are reluctant and jealous to reveal “the really good stuff.” Fred Karlin was an excellent teacher and musician. He played wonderful, bluesy Jazz trumpet, and performed in concert during the performance of his arrngements/compositions.
    I had the honor of receiving a scholarship for the following year’s Arrangers’ Holiday.
    I believe that Fred Karlin went to Hollywood to score for films shortly after that.
    He has written two excellent books:
    LISTENING TO MOVIES
    and
    ON THE TRACK: A GUIDE TO COMTEMPORARY FILM SCORING (Rayburn Wright, Co-author)
    Fred Karlin’s rich contributions to film scoring and teaching others in the art will be sorely missed. He was unassuming and a fine person. Ted Melyan

  3. TRANG

    I AM A FRIEND OF FRED KARLIN. FRED PAST AWAY LAST YEAR AND I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET IN TOUCH WITH HIS WIFE AND SOME HOW SHE HAD MOVED. IF ANYONE KNOW HER CONTACTS, PLEASE EMAIL AND LET ME KNOW. I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATED.
    THANK YOU
    TRANG

  4. TRANG

    I AM A FRIEND OF FRED KARLIN. FRED PAST AWAY LAST YEAR AND I HAVE BEEN TRYING TO GET IN TOUCH WITH HIS WIFE, MEG, AND SOME HOW SHE HAD MOVED. IF ANYONE KNOW HER CONTACTS, PLEASE EMAIL AND LET ME KNOW. I WOULD GREATLY APPRECIATED.
    MY EMAL ADDRESS IS TRANGV@JUNO.COM
    THANK YOU
    TRANG

  5. John La Barbera

    I got to know Fred when he & Ray Wright were doing the the first “On The Track Book” and susequently got back in contact with him during the update. We never did get a chance to meet but kept in contact quite a bit by phone and e-mail. He never let on that he was sick and I was hoping to see him during my CD release party bu to no avail. He was a genuine guy and a great musician. He sent me a copy of an LP he did in NYC years ago that attests to his jazz writing skills. He also sent me a cd of his trumpet playing. Who knew? I’m so sorry I never did get to have a face to face. I had a lot of scoring questions he could have answered. John

  6. deanna banks

    Would like to include COME SATURDAY MORNING in a piano CD I am planning – would like an okay to do this in memory of a very great composer and sensitive soul.

  7. Mellissa

    Unfortunately, I was more acquainted with Fred’s family than his musical accomplishments. I’m very appreciative of his talent and achievements, as he is held in such high regard by his peers and students. His impact on the world of film score are invaluable.
    I too would like to reach a family member. If you have any contact information that I could use without violating the parameters of privacy, I would appreciate an e-mail.
    Thank you for your time.

  8. Charles

    I knew the Karlins’ when they lived in Englewood NJ in the late 1960’s. I was certainly aware that Fred Karlin was a man of many accomplishments. The entire family always seemed rather magical to me. I would appreciate being able to get in touch with his two daughters, whom I knew many years ago, if anyone knows how to find them. I can be emailed. Thanks!

  9. Charles Kroll

    I met Fred Karlin when his family lived in Englewood, NJ, in the late 196’s. I hardly ever saw him, and only later became acquainted with his great variety of accomplishments. However, I did meet his wife and children, and became fairly good friends with his two daughters during that period. I have wanted to contact them for many years, and would much appreciate anyone sending me information about how to do this. I can be reached at Rupert_T_Brand@yahoo.com. Thanks much.

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