Heinz Roemheld

Heinz Roemheld (May 1, 1901 – February 11, 1985) was an American composer.

Heinz Roemheld
Heinrich Erich Roemheld

(1901-05-01)May 1, 1901
DiedFebruary 11, 1985(1985-02-11) (aged 83)
EducationMilwaukee College of Music
Spouse(s)Emeline Defnet
ChildrenMary Lou Roemheld, Ann Roemheld
Parent(s)Heinrich Roemheld, Fanny Rauterberg Roemheld

Early life and careerEdit

Born Heinz Eric Roemheld in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, he was one of four children of German immigrant Heinrich Roemheld and his wife Fanny Rauterberg Roemheld. Heinrich was a pharmacist, but all the members of the family were musical. His brother Edgar Roemheld (1898-1964) became a conductor. His sister Irmgard Roemheld (1904-1995) became a well-known Milwaukee music teacher and radio broadcaster.

Roemheld was a child prodigy who began playing the piano at age four. He graduated from the Milwaukee College of Music at 19, and performed in theaters to earn money to study piano in Europe. In 1920, he went to Berlin, where he studied with Hugo Kaun, Ferruccio Busoni, and Egon Petri. While he was there, he appeared in concert with the Berlin Philharmonic.[1]

When he returned to America, Roemheld became involved in music for silent movies, both as a pianist and as a conductor. In 1925, he was sent back to Berlin as head of Universal Pictures theaters there, but had to leave in 1929 due to the rise of Nazism.[citation needed]

Back in America, Roemheld moved to Los Angeles and became a prominent cinema composer. He scored some scenes in Gone with the Wind, including the burning of Atlanta, although he was not credited on-screen. In 1942, he won the Academy Award for Best Original Music Score for Yankee Doodle Dandy. Among the more than 400 other films for which he composed music were Gentleman Jim, The Lady From Shanghai, The Invisible Man, and Shine On, Harvest Moon.[citation needed]

After World War II, Roemheld once again returned to Germany to become Chief of the Film, Theatre, and Music Section of the Information Central Division of The American Armies in Europe. He continued writing for several major film studios until the late 1950s and, after briefly working in television, he retired in 1964 to concentrate on classical composition. He is best known for the song "Ruby" from the movie Ruby Gentry (1952), which has become a standard.

Personal lifeEdit

He married a former Miss Milwaukee, Emeline Defnet (1901-1980), from whom he was later divorced. They had two daughters, Mary Lou Roemheld, who was married for years to game show host Jack Narz, and Ann Roemheld, who married game show host Bill Cullen.[2]


Roemheld died on February 11, 1985, at a convalescent home in Huntington Beach after contracting pneumonia three weeks earlier.[2]

Partial filmographyEdit


  1. ^ Heinz Roemheld at AllMusic "Milwaukee-born Heinz Roemheld followed a circuitous route to a career as a film composer. At age four he was identified as a piano prodigy; he later studied with Ferruccio Busoni and Egon Petri in Berlin, and performed as a guest soloist with the Berlin Philharmonic at 23."
  2. ^ a b "Obituary". Chicago Tribune. February 13, 1985. Retrieved May 1, 2019.

External linksEdit