1895–1960

Introduction

Born: May 7, 1895, Et­na Green, In­di­a­na.

Died: Jan­u­a­ry 6, 1960, Los An­ge­les, Ca­li­for­nia.

Buried: For­est Lawn Mem­or­i­al Park, Los An­ge­les, Ca­li­for­nia.

portrait

Biography

Max was the son of Har­vey Rapp and Nel­lie Hut­chi­son.

He start­ed wig­gling his fin­gers at a ve­ry ear­ly age, sit­ting on hymn books in or­der to reach the pi­a­no. His mo­ther had been the pi­an­ist for their lo­cal church and a pi­a­no teach­er in town, pass­ing away when Max was on­ly a year old.

Max fol­lowed in her foot­steps, be­com­ing the pi­an­ist at the Bap­tist church in War­saw, In­di­a­na, and teach­ing at the War­saw Con­ser­va­to­ry of Mu­sic, which he found­ed in 1919.

After or­gan­iz­ing and di­rect­ing a num­ber of bands, he ap­peared on sev­er­al ear­ly ra­dio pro­grams, which led to a brief ca­reer as a tour­ing mu­si­cian He be­came well known on con­cert stag­es through­out Am­eri­ca, from Chi­ca­go to Los An­ge­les.

After mar­ry­ing con­cert pi­an­ist Ir­ene Tay­lor, they moved to Hol­ly­wood, Ca­li­for­nia, where Max be­came a con­tract com­pos­er for 20th Cen­tu­ry Fox, Ra­dio-Keith-Or­phe­um (RKO), Unit­ed Ar­tists, Par­a­mount and Met­ro Gold­wyn May­er (MGM).

In 1935, he be­came Or­ches­tra Con­tract­or and a staff com­pos­er for Un­i­ver­sal Pic­tures, where he would stay un­til his death.

Family stor­ies tell of Max oft­en bring­ing home friends like Nat King Cole and Hen­ry Man­ci­ni, who men­tioned Max in his au­to­bi­o­gra­phy Did They Men­tion The Mu­sic?

The ex­tent of Rapp’s film com­po­si­tions is not ful­ly known, since his name was of­ten omit­ted from the piec­es he wrote un­der con­tract. Some films for which he re­ceived cred­it are: You Can’t Cheat an Hon­est Man (1939), East Side of Hea­ven (1939), Top Ser­geant (1942), and House of Fran­ken­stein (1944). He no doubt con­trib­ut­ed to ma­ny more in his 25 year ca­reer.

Upon Rapp’s death, the Los An­ge­les Times ran the head­line: Max Rapp, 64, Screen Mu­sic Ar­ran­ger, Dies.

Lyrics