Paul Smith
Paul J. Smith

(1906-10-30)October 30, 1906
DiedJanuary 25, 1985(1985-01-25) (aged 78)
OccupationAmerican film composer
Years active1936–1985

Paul J. Smith (October 30, 1906 – January 25, 1985) was an American music composer and violinist best known for his work at Disney.[1]

Life and career

Smith was born in Calumet, Michigan on October 30, 1906. Upon graduating high school, he studied music at The College of Idaho from 1923 to 1925 before he was accepted into the Bush Conservatory of Music in Chicago, Illinois. His abilities in theory and composition earned him a scholarship to study music theory at Juilliard, however, it is unclear if he ever pursued this invitation.[2]

Smith spent much of his life working at Disney as composer for many of its films' scores, animated and live-action alike, movie and television alike; from 1962 to 1963, he also composed music for Leave It to Beaver. In Fantasia, he is one of the studio employees in the orchestra. He also composed the scores for several of the True-Life Adventures episodes.[3]

In 1950, Smith and Oliver Wallace composed the musical score of Disney's Cinderella.

Smith's main collaborator and partner was Hazel "Gil" George, who wrote the song title for The Light in the Forest with him[4] and Lawrence Edward Watkin. Another one of Smith's collaborator was George Bruns who worked with him on films like Westward Ho the Wagons!. Smith also did the stock music for the Blondie series of the late 1940s and early 1950s. He won an Academy Award for Best Original Score with Leigh Harline and Ned Washington for Pinocchio, which was his first and only Oscar win. Smith received seven more Oscar nominations for Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Saludos Amigos, Victory Through Air Power, The Three Caballeros, Song of the South, Cinderella and Perri.


Paul Smith died on January 25, 1985, in Glendale, California, from Alzheimer's disease at age 78. In 1994, he was posthumously honored as a Disney Legend.

Animation scores

Live-action theatrical film scores


  1. ^ Disney's Complete "Silly Symphony" Soundtrack Collection-Cartoon Research
  2. ^ The College of Idaho Department of Music. A Tribute to Professors: Beale, Smith, Skyrm, Davidson, Cerveny, and Gabbard. The College of Idaho. pp. 5–7.
  3. ^ Macdonald, Scott (Spring 2006). "Up Close and Political : The Short Ruminations on Ideology in the Nature Film". Film Quarterly. 3 (59).
  4. ^ "2 Women That Had a Profound Influence on Walt Disney's Life". 22 August 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2021.
  5. ^ When Cinderella Played "Snow White" on Records-Cartoon Research
  6. ^ Paul Joseph Smith, Composer Of Scores for Disney Movies-NY Times
  7. ^ The Cartoon Music Book-Google Books (pg.33)
  8. ^ The Cartoon Music-Google Books (pg. 35)

Film Composers in America, A. Filmography 1911- 1970 by Clifford McCarthy