First composer to win the Academy Award two years in a row, for "Sunset Boulevard" from 1950 and "A Place in the Sun" from 1951.
He enrolled at the Dresden Music Academy at age 16 and later became a professional orchestrator for German films. He worked on "The Blue Angel" from 1930, which his mentor Frederick Hollander had scored.
His score for "Sunset Boulevard" was ranked on the American Film Institute's "100 Years of Film Scores" list from 2005 at number 16.
His wife Alice Schachmann died in 1957. He honored his wife with "Joshua," his oratorio from the late 1950s.
He collaborated with Alfred Hitchcock on his films "Rebecca" from 1940 and "Rear Window" from 1954.