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date: 06 April 2020

De Packh, Mauricefree

  • Kate Daubney

(b New York, NY, 21 Nov 1896; d Beverly Hills, CA, 24 May 1960). Composer, arranger, orchestrator, and conductor. He studied the piano with Maurice Gould and Jeanne Franco and composition and orchestration with Frank Saddler. During the 1920s he worked as an arranger for Broadway musicals, including The Girlfriend, Manhattan Mary, and the Ziegfeld Follies of 1920 and 1921. He also wrote songs for the 1922 musical Glory. He established the De PackhEnsemble, which he conducted between 1928 and 1931, then in 1933 he went to Hollywood as an arranger and orchestrator. He worked first for MGM and smaller studios on films such as The Dancing Lady (1933) and Rip Tide (1934). He was also one of the team of five principal orchestrators who assisted composer Max Steiner with Gone with the Wind (1939), a score that exemplifies the richness of orchestral timbre and complexity of arrangement that were hallmarks of film music of the time. In the early 1940s he moved to Twentieth Century Fox, where he worked on a number of Betty Grable musicals, including Four Jills in a Jeep (1944), The Dolly Sisters (1945), and Mother Wore Tights (1947), for which Alfred Newman's musical direction won an Academy Award.


(selective list)

film scores, as orchestrator and arranger

The Dancing Lady (dir. R.Z. Leonard), 1933

Riptide (dir. E. Goulding), 1934

The Dancing Masters (dir. M. St. Clair), 1943

Four Jills in a Jeep (dir. W.A. Seiter), 1944

Irish Eyes Are Smiling (dir. G. Ratoff), 1944

The Bullfighters (dir. M. St. Clair and S. Laurel), 1945

The Dolly Sisters (dir. I. Cummings), 1945

I Wonder Who's Kissing Her Now (dir. L. Bacon), 1947

Mother Wore Tights (dir. W. Lang), 1947

When My Baby Smiles at Me (dir. W. Lang), 1948

Letter to Three Wives (dir. J.L. Mankiewicz), 1949

American Guerrilla in the Philippines (dir. F. Lang), 1950

Viva Zapata (dir. E. Kazan), 1952

Daddy Long Legs (dir. J. Negulesco), 1955

Anastasia (dir. A. Litvak), 1956


  • W. Sherk: “Films Orchestrated by Maurice de Packh,” The Cue Sheet 8, no. 3 (1991),
  • W. Sherk: “Music from the Films: The Lawrence Morton-Maurice de Packh Interview,” The Cue Sheet 8, no. 3 (1991)