Robert David Grusin (born June 26, 1934) is an American composer, arranger, producer, and pianist. He has composed many scores for feature films and television, and has won numerous awards for his soundtrack and record work, including an Academy Award and ten Grammy Awards. He has had a prolific recording career as an artist, arranger, producer and executive producer. He is the co-founder of GRP Records.
Born in Littleton, Colorado, he studied music at the University of Colorado at Boulder and was awarded his degree in 1956. He produced his first single, “Subways Are for Sleeping”, in 1962 and his first film score for Divorce American Style (1967). Other scores followed, including Winning (1969), The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973), The Midnight Man (1974), and Three Days of the Condor(1975).
In the late 1970s, he started GRP Records with his business partner, Larry Rosen, and began to create some of the first commercial digital recordings. He was the composer for The Graduate, On Golden Pond (1981), Tootsie (1982) and The Goonies (1985). In 1988, he won the Oscar for best original score for The Milagro Beanfield War, He also composed the musical scores for the 1984 TriStar Pictures and the 1993 Columbia Pictures Television logos.
From 2000-11, Grusin concentrated on composing classical and jazz compositions, touring and recording with collaborators, including guitarist Lee Ritenour. Their album Harlequin won a Grammy Award in 1985. Their classical crossover albums, Two Worlds and Amparo, were nominated for Grammys.
Life and career
Grusin’s mother was a pianist and his father was a violinist from Riga, Latvia. An alumnus of the University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Music, he was awarded his bachelor’s degree in 1956. His teachers included Cecil Effinger and Wayne Scott, pianist, arranger and professor of jazz.
Grusin has a filmography of about 100 titles. His many awards include an Oscar for best original score for The Milagro Beanfield War, as well as Oscar nominations for The Champ, The Fabulous Baker Boys, The Firm, Havana, Heaven Can Wait, and On Golden Pond. He also received a Best Original Song nomination for “It Might Be You” from the film Tootsie. Six of the fourteen cuts on the soundtrack from The Graduate are his. Other film scores he has composed include Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?, Three Days of the Condor, The Goonies, Tequila Sunrise, Hope Floats, Random Hearts, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, Mulholland Falls and The Firm. In addition, he also composed the original opening fanfare for film studio TriStar Pictures.
Grusin composed theme music for the TV programs It Takes a Thief (1968), The Name of the Game (1968), Dan August (1970), The Sandy Duncan Show (1971–72), Maude (1972), Good Times (1974), Baretta (1975), St. Elsewhere (1982), and, for Televisa in Mexico, Tres Generaciones (1987). He also composed music for individual episodes of each of those shows. His other TV credits include The Wild Wild West (1966), The Girl from U.N.C.L.E. (1966), and Columbo: Prescription: Murder (1968). He also did the theme song for One Life to Live (1968) from 1984–92. Grusin and Larry Rosen founded GRP Records in 1978. In 1994, GRP was in charge of MCA’s jazz operations. Founders Grusin and Rosen left in 1995 and were replaced by Tommy LiPuma. In 1997, Grusin and Rosen founded N2K Encoded Music, which was renamed N-Coded Music.
He received honorary doctorates from Berklee College of Music in 1988 and University of Colorado, College of Music in 1989. Grusin was initiated into the Beta Chi Chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia at the University of Colorado in 1953.
Grusin is married to Nan Newton. He is the father of music editor Stuart Grusin, music editor and musician Scott Grusin, and aerospace engineer Michael Grusin. He is the stepfather of artist Annie Vought and elder brother of keyboardist Don Grusin and sister Dee Grusin.