Dave Grusin
Grusin in 2008
Grusin in 2008
Background information
Birth nameRobert David Grusin
Born (1934-06-26) June 26, 1934 (age 90)
Littleton, Colorado, U.S.
  • Musician
  • composer
  • producer
  • Piano
  • keyboards
Years active1962–present

Robert David Grusin (born June 26,[a] 1934) is an American composer, arranger, producer, jazz pianist, and band leader. He has composed many scores for feature films and television and has won numerous awards for his soundtrack and record work, including an Academy Award and 10 Grammy Awards. Grusin is also a frequent collaborator with director Sydney Pollack, scoring many of his films like Three Days of the Condor (1975), Absence of Malice (1981), Tootsie (1982), The Firm (1993), and Random Hearts (1999). In 1978, Grusin founded GRP Records with Larry Rosen, and was an early pioneer of digital recording.[1][3][4]

Early life

Grusin was born in Littleton, Colorado, to Henri and Rosabelle (née de Poyster) Grusin. His family originates from the Gruzinsky princely line of the Bagrationi dynasty, the royal family that ruled the Kingdom of Georgia in the ninth to 19th centuries. In Slavic languages, "Grusin" is an ethnonym for Georgians. [5] Grusin’s father, Henri, was a violinist of Jewish ancestry who was born and raised in Riga, Latvia, then part of the Russian Empire, from where he emigrated to the United States in 1913.[6] Grusin's mother, Rosabelle, was a pianist.[7][8] He is the older brother of fellow jazz keyboardist, composer, and producer Don Grusin.

Grusin studied music at the University of Colorado at Boulder and graduated in 1956.[9] His teachers included Cecil Effinger; and Wayne Scott, a pianist, arranger, and professor of jazz.[10]


Grusin produced his first single in 1962, "Subways Are for Sleeping", and his first film score, for Divorce American Style, in 1967. Other scores followed, including The Graduate (1967), Winning (1969), The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), The Midnight Man (1974), and Three Days of the Condor (1975).[9]

In 1978, Grusin founded GRP Records with his business partner Larry Rosen, and began producing some of the first commercial digital recordings. Grusin was the composer for On Golden Pond (1981), Tootsie (1982), and The Goonies (1985). In 1988, he won the Oscar for Best Original Score for The Milagro Beanfield War. Grusin composed the musical signatures for the 1984 TriStar Pictures logo (which was credited at the end of Look Who's Talking Too) and the 1993 Columbia Pictures Television logo.[11]

In 1998, Grusin ranked #5 and #8 on Billboard's Top 10 Jazz Artists, at mid-year and at year's end, respectively, based on sales of his album "Dave Grusin Presents West Side Story."[12][13]

From 2000–11, Grusin concentrated on classical and jazz compositions, touring and recording with collaborators including jazz singer and lyricist Lorraine Feather[14] and guitarist Lee Ritenour. Their album Harlequin won a Grammy Award in 1985. Their classical crossover albums, Two Worlds and Amparo, were nominated for Grammys.[15][16]

Grusin has a filmography of about 100 titles. His many awards include an Oscar for best original score for The Milagro Beanfield War, as well as Oscar nominations for The Champ, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Firm, Havana, Heaven Can Wait, and On Golden Pond.[17] Grusin received a Best Original Song nomination for "It Might Be You" from the film Tootsie. Six of the 14 cuts on the soundtrack from The Graduate are his. Other film scores Grusin has composed include Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?, Three Days of the Condor, The Goonies, Tequila Sunrise, Hope Floats, Random Hearts, The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter, Mulholland Falls, and The Firm. He composed the original opening fanfare for film studio TriStar Pictures.[18]

Grusin composed theme music for the TV programs Good Morning World (American TV series) (1967), It Takes a Thief (1968), The Name of the Game (1968), Dan August (1970), The Sandy Duncan Show (1971–72), Maude (1972), Good Times (1974), Baretta (1975), St. Elsewhere (1982), and, for Televisa in Mexico, Tres Generaciones (1987). He composed music for individual episodes of each of those shows. Grusin's other TV credits include The Wild Wild West (1966), The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1966), and Columbo: Prescription: Murder (1968). He composed and performed the 1984-1991 theme music for One Life to Live (1968).[19] Grusin wrote the music for the This Is America, Charlie Brown episode "The Smithsonian and the Presidency", and two of the cues from the episode "History Lesson" and "Breadline Blues" (the latter covered by Kenny G) appear on the tribute album Happy Anniversary, Charlie Brown. "History Lesson" also appears in the Amiga CDTV version of Snoopy: The Cool Computer Game.

In 1994, GRP was in charge of MCA's jazz operations. Founders Grusin and Rosen left in the following year and were replaced by Tommy LiPuma. In 1997, Grusin and Rosen founded N2K Encoded Music, which was renamed N-Coded Music.[9]

Grusin received honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music in 1988 and University of Colorado, College of Music in 1989. He was initiated into the Beta Chi Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at the University of Colorado in 1991.[20]

Personal life

Grusin has been married to Nan Newton for many years and they have three adult sons: Scott, Michael, and Stuart. He is also the stepfather of Nan's adult daughter, Annie Vought. Grusin is the subject of a 2018 feature-length documentary, “Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time.”[21]

Awards and honors

Over a 15-year period from 1979–1994, Grusin won an Academy Award, and received seven more nominations.[22][23] He has been nominated for 38 Grammy Awards and won 10.[4]

Academy Awards

Grammy Awards

Golden Globe Awards



As leader

As sideman


Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
1967 Divorce American Style Bud Yorkin Columbia Pictures
Waterhole No. 3 William A. Graham Paramount Pictures
The Graduate Mike Nichols Embassy Pictures
The Scorpio Letters Richard Thorpe Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1968 A Man Called Gannon James Goldstone Universal Pictures
Where Were You When the Lights Went Out? Hy Averback United Artists
The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter Robert Ellis Miller Warner Bros.
Candy Christian Marquand ABC Pictures
1969 Winning James Goldstone Universal Pictures
Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here Abraham Polonsky Universal Pictures
1970 Halls of Anger Paul Bogart United Artists
Adam at 6 A.M. Robert Scheerer Cinema Center Films
1971 The Pursuit of Happiness Robert Mulligan Columbia Pictures
Shoot Out Henry Hathaway Universal Pictures
A Howling in the Woods Daniel Petrie NBC
Universal Television
Television film
The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight James Goldstone Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1972 The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid Philip Kaufman Universal Pictures
Fuzz Richard A. Colla United Artists
1973 Amanda Fallon Jack Laird NBC
Universal Television
Television film
The Friends of Eddie Coyle Peter Yates Paramount Pictures
1974 The Death Squad Harry Falk ABC
Spelling-Goldberg Productions
Television film
The Nickel Ride Robert Mulligan 20th Century Fox
The Midnight Man Roland Kibbee
Burt Lancaster
Universal Pictures
The Yakuza Sydney Pollack Warner Bros.
1975 W.W. and the Dixie Dancekings John G. Avildsen 20th Century Fox
Three Days of the Condor Sydney Pollack Paramount Pictures
1976 Murder by Death Robert Moore Columbia Pictures
The Front Martin Ritt Columbia Pictures
1977 Mr. Billion Jonathan Kaplan 20th Century Fox
Fire Sale Alan Arkin 20th Century Fox
The Goodbye Girl Herbert Ross Warner Bros.
Bobby Deerfield Sydney Pollack Warner Bros.
1978 Heaven Can Wait Warren Beatty
Buck Henry
Paramount Pictures Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
1979 The Champ Franco Zeffirelli Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
...And Justice for All. Norman Jewison Columbia Pictures
The Electric Horseman Sydney Pollack Columbia Pictures
1980 My Bodyguard Tony Bill 20th Century Fox
1981 On Golden Pond Mark Rydell Associated Film Distribution Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
Reds Warren Beatty Paramount Pictures
Absence of Malice Sydney Pollack Columbia Pictures
1982 Author! Author! Arthur Hiller 20th Century Fox
Tootsie Sydney Pollack Columbia Pictures
1984 Racing with the Moon Richard Benjamin Paramount Pictures
The Little Drummer Girl George Roy Hill Warner Bros.
Falling in Love Ulu Grosbard Paramount Pictures
The Pope of Greenwich Village Stuart Rosenberg United Artists
1985 The Goonies Richard Donner Warner Bros.
1986 Lucas David Seltzer 20th Century Fox
1987 Ishtar Elaine May Columbia Pictures With Bahjawa and Paul Williams
1988 The Milagro Beanfield War Robert Redford Universal Pictures Winner of the Academy Award for Best Original Score
Clara's Heart Robert Mulligan Warner Bros.
Tequila Sunrise Robert Towne Warner Bros.
1989 A Dry White Season Euzhan Palcy Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
The Fabulous Baker Boys Steve Kloves 20th Century Fox Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
1990 Havana Sydney Pollack Universal Pictures Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
The Bonfire of the Vanities Brian De Palma Warner Bros.
1991 For the Boys Mark Rydell 20th Century Fox
1993 The Firm Sydney Pollack Paramount Pictures Nominated for Academy Award for Best Original Score
1995 The Cure Peter Horton Universal Pictures
1996 Mulholland Falls Lee Tamahori Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1997 Selena Gregory Nava Warner Bros.
In the Gloaming Christopher Reeve HBO Television film
1998 Hope Floats Forest Whitaker 20th Century Fox
1999 Random Hearts Sydney Pollack Columbia Pictures
2001 Dinner with Friends Norman Jewison HBO Television film
2006 Even Money Mark Rydell Yari Film Group
2008 Recount Jay Roach HBO Television film
2010 Harmony Stuart Sender
Julie Bergman Sender
NBC Television film
2013 Skating to New York Charles Minsky Well Go USA Entertainment

See also


  1. ^ Some sources give Grusin's date of birth as June 24,[1] although most agree on June 26.[2][3]
  2. ^ Dates given are those of the relevant Awards ceremony, not when the films were released.


  1. ^ a b Blim, Dan (2014) [2013]. "Grusin, Dave". Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/gmo/9781561592630.article.A2262383. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  2. ^ Bordowitz, Hank (2001). "Grusin, Dave". In Slonimsky, Nicolas & Kuhn, Laura (eds.). Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Vol. 2 (Centennial ed.). New York: Shirmer Books. pp. 1383–1384. ISBN 0028655273. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Adams, Michael (2009). "Grusin, Dave". In Cramer, Andrew W. (ed.). Musicians & Composers of the 20th Century. Vol. 2. Pasadena: Salem Press. pp. 543–546. ISBN 9781587655142. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Dave Grusin". Grammy Awards. Retrieved December 12, 2022.
  5. ^ "It's A Small World After All". georgianjournal.ge. March 15, 2012. Retrieved August 21, 2023.
  6. ^ Lees, Gene. "The Jewish Contribution" (PDF). World Radio History. Retrieved September 26, 2022. High Fidelity, vol. 27 (1977), n° 7, p. 27.
  7. ^ "Dave Grusin Page" (PDF). Soul Walking. Retrieved January 9, 2018.
  8. ^ "Dave Grusin Biography". Film Reference. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  9. ^ a b c "The Dave Grusin manuscripts An inventory of holdings at the American Music Research Center" (PDF). American Music Research Center. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  10. ^ "Cecil Effinger Interview with Bruce Duffie". Bruce Duffie. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  11. ^ "Dave Grusin and Larry Rosen. Behind the scenes, they're ahead of their times" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 91, no. 42. New York. October 20, 1979. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  12. ^ "Year-to-Date Jazz Charts" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 110, no. 26. New York. June 27, 1998. p. 44. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  13. ^ "The Year in Music 1998 – Top Jazz Artists / Top Jazz Albums" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 110, no. 52. New York. p. YE79. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  14. ^ Kaufman, Joanne (March 2, 2018). "When Your Home Has a History". The New York Times. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  15. ^ Daniels, Melissa (June 20, 2008). "Lee Ritenour and Dave Grusin to Return with 'Amparo'". JazzTimes. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  16. ^ Soergel, Brian (October 1, 2008). "Lee Ritenour & Dave Grusin: Amparo". JazzTimes. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  17. ^ On Golden Pond (Main Theme) Sheet Music. Hal Leonard Corporation. October 1986. ISBN 978-1-4950-4316-1.
  18. ^ "Tri-Star Logo Theme by Dave Grusin - Most Popular Songs". Archived from the original on May 12, 2013. Retrieved March 21, 2014.
  19. ^ "One Life To Live". Daytime Soap Opera Theme Songs and Main Titles. Retrieved March 7, 2022.
  20. ^ "Charles E. Lutton Man of Music". Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  21. ^ Bentree, Barbara (Director). "Dave Grusin: Not Enough Time". jindojazz. Retrieved April 5, 2022.
  22. ^ Burlingame, Dave (November 6, 2020). "At 86, Oscar-Winning Composer Dave Grusin Is Ready to Tour Again When the COVID-19 Pandemic Subsides". Variety. Los Angeles: Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved December 20, 2022.
  23. ^ Kinn, Gail & Piazza, Jim (2014). The Academy Awards: The Complete Unofficial History (Revised ed.). New York: Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers. ISBN 9781579129866 – via Internet Archive.
  24. ^ "The 61st Academy Awards, 1989". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. October 5, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  25. ^ "The 51st Academy Awards, 1979". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. October 5, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  26. ^ "The 52nd Academy Awards, 1980". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. March 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  27. ^ "The 54th Academy Awards, 1982". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. March 2022. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  28. ^ "The 62nd Academy Awards, 1990". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. October 5, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  29. ^ "The 63rd Academy Awards, 1991". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. October 4, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  30. ^ "The 66th Academy Awards, 1994". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. October 4, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  31. ^ "The 55th Academy Awards, 1983". Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. October 5, 2014. Retrieved December 19, 2022.
  32. ^ O'Neil, Thomas (1999). The Grammys: The Ultimate, Unofficial Guide to Music's Highest Honor (Revised ed.). New York: Perigree. p. 146. ISBN 0399524770. Retrieved December 18, 2022 – via Internet Archive.
  33. ^ McPhate, Tim (May 15, 2017). "'Mrs. Robinson,' 'The Graduate' Soundtrack: 3 GRAMMY facts". Grammy Awards. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  34. ^ "The Key is Versatility" (PDF). Billboard. Vol. 74, no. 48. New York. December 1, 1962. p. 47. Retrieved December 18, 2022.
  35. ^ "Dave Grusin Work Chronology".
  36. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 130. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  37. ^ "Dave Grusin | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved April 22, 2019.
  38. ^ "Dave Grusin | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved April 22, 2019.