About this Collection
Herschel Burke Gilbert was born in 1918 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Following early studies on the violin, he attended Milwaukee State Teachers College, then the Juilliard School of Music, where he studied conducting with Albert Stoessel and composition with Bernard Wagenaar and Vittorio Giannini. In 1942 he came to Hollywood from New York to work as a violist and arranger for the Harry James Orchestra, during which time he also studied with composer Ernst Toch. In the mid-'40s he began orchestrating and arranging for Dmitri Tiomkin (It's a Wonderful Life) and other studio composers, then going on to compose his own music for a number of feature films in the 1940s, '50s, and '60s. He was nominated for three Academy Awards: "The Thief" (1952; score); "The Moon is Blue" (1953; title song); and "Carmen Jones" (1954; score for a musical). Additional film scores included "Mr. District Attorney" (1947), "The Jackie Robinson Story" (1950), "The Bold and the Brave" (1956), "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue" (1957), and many others. Around 1951 he started composing for television, the medium for which he is perhaps best remembered. In 1958 he joined Dick Powell's Four Star Television company later becoming the company's Executive Music Director. Of particular note from this period is his title theme and music for "The Rifleman" television series. Other series for which he composed scores or themes included "Wanted: Dead or Alive", "Johnny Ringo", "Burke's Law", "Gunsmoke", "Gilligan's Island", and "The Big Valley", among others. He became music director for CBS Television Network in 1964 and retired in 1966, forming Laurel Records, a label focusing on the music of contemporary composers. In the course of his career, he served as President of the Film Music Society, the Screen Composers Guild, and the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), and also served with the LA chapters of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (NARAS) and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Gilbert (Herschel Burke) Collection