Ronald Stein – Gaylord Music Library Special Collections



Biographical Sketch

Ronald Stein (BA Music ’51) was born in St. Louis on April 12, 1930. His first piano teacher was his mother, Ceclia, who was a pianist in the silent movie theaters. It was through her that he became enamored with film and especially film music; which became his life’s work. From 1938-1947, he was privately educated at the Leo C. Miller studios. He entered Washington University in 1947 and wrote Quad Shows and Thyrsus Revues (student productions) during the years from 1947 through 1951. While at Washington University he was also rehearsal pianist, then assistant conductor at the Municipal Opera Theatre. After graduation he married Harlene Hiken.

In 1951 Stein attended Yale University, but his studies were cut short when he was drafted into the Army. While in the Army, he composed and conducted many Army shows. In September of 1955, he composed and conducted his first film score, Apache Woman, for American International Pictures. He was signed to a five-year contract and composed 55 scores; most memorable are The Legend of Tom Dooley and The Littlest Hobo.

After 1961 he became an independent composer, scoring, arranging, and conducting more than 90 films and working with such famous Hollywood luminaries such as Francis Coppola, Richard Rush, and Alex Gordon. The best known pictures from this period are The Premature Burial, Of Love and Desire, Dementia 13, The Rain People, and Getting Straight.

From 1973 to 1978, Stein worked for Paragon films as a post production supervisor. He was also involved with the television series Dateline Yesterday. From 1980 to 1985 he was professor of music at the University of Colorado at Denver.

Stein returned to Los Angeles in 1985, again working on several pictures as post production supervisor and devoting his time to several charities. He died on August 15, 1988 of pancreatic cancer.

Finding list of the Ronald Stein Archive

(prepared 6/10/96)

1 Box – Series I – VI

Series I: Photographs

  1. (Envelope #1) Up through Stein’s Washington University years (1951)
    • Family photos and portraits (9)
    • Soldan High School performances (3)
    • Washington Univeristy Quad Show (8)
    • Muny show (14)
    • w/radio CBS announcer (Harry Fender) and unknown KMOX
  2. (Envelope #2)
    • Movie stills and on set photos
      • Bounty Killer (2)
      • The Day the World Ended (2)
      • Getting Straight (4)
      • The Haunted Palace (1)
      • Of Love and Desire (2)
      • Reform Schjool Girl (1)
      • The Threat (5)
    • Hollywood connections (3)
  3. Movie Posters and Lobby Cards
    • Attach of the 50 Foot Woman – replica poster (large format – hanging in the Group Study Room)
    • The Day the World Ended – replica poster
    • Getting Straight – original poster (shelved flat)
    • Getting Straight – original lobby cards
    • Invasion of the Saucer-Men – replica poster
    • The Terror – replica poster
    • The Undead – replica poster

Series II: Teaching Material

  1. (Folder)
    • ABACA Music Theory Syllabus Chapters I-XIII and XIV-XXII UCD Mus 100 Theory 1 #2349 Prof. Ronald Stein
  2. (Envelope) 2 scores analyzed by Stein
  3. Letter to composer and former student John Poole

Series III: Works

  1. (Folder) Published sheet music
    • Katherine’s Love Theme (Mystic Rose) from “Of Love and Desire” – 2 copies
    • Of Love and Desire (Llorona) from “Of Love and Desire” – 3 copies
    • The S. F. Blues from “Day the World Ended”
    • Carron’s Theme from “Apache Woman”
    • Theme from “Dime With A Halo” – 2 copies
    • Dim Little Star from “Runaway Daughters”
    • The Destiny of Love from “The Threat” (ozalid reproduction)
  2. (Folder) Manuscript transcriptions/arrangements
    • Body and Soul/Teddy Wilson
    • Darktow Strutters Ball/Waller
    • Tea for Two/Vincent Youman – Piano arrangement Liberace

Series IV: Articles

  1. (Folder) Articles written about Ronald Stein
    • Brunas, Michael, “Attack of the Soft Soundtracks”, Scarlet Street, pp.34-36. (photocopy)
    • Larson, Randall D., “The Film Music of Ronald Stein”, Cinema Score ; The Film Music Journal, no.13/14 (Winter 1984/Summer 1985): pp. 52-57.
    • Takis, John, “Invasion of the Score Man!”, Film Score Monthly, v. 6 no. 9 (October/November, 2001): pp. 18-21.
    • various other newspaper articles and reviews
  2. (Folder)
    • September 1960 issue of San Diego Magazine containing a review written by Stein
    • Notes, letters, and comments concerning this review

Series V: Programs and Brochures

  1. (Folder)
    • Programs containing Stein performances
    • Poster announcing concert with Stein
  2. (Folder) Programs, copies of speeches, and lists of attendees at the Ronald Stein Memorial Celebration

Series VI: Information Lists on Stein

  1. (Envelope)
    • Professional Experience and Biography
    • Biography/Music Appears In
    • Education and Teaching Career
    • Publications and Recordings
    • Societies and Affiliations
    • Theatrical Films and Television

Series VII: Scrapbooks

  1. Book 1: 1947-1956
  2. Book 2: 1956-1960
  3. Book 3: 1961-1964
  4. Book 4: 1963-1969
  5. Book 5: 1969-1970

List of manuscripts

In the Ronald Stein Manuscript Collection there are 61 film score sets, five stage productions and 26 manuscripts for other works. The latter are for a wide range of instrumental and vocal forces. The film score sets are particularly instructive about the process of writing music for the movies. Included in the sets are cue sheets and scripts as well as conductor’s short scores and full complements of the needed instrumental parts.

Note: Manuscript titles are transcribed from the items themselves and are not necessarily consistent throughout the list.

Film Scores

  • Apache Woman (American International, 1955, debut) music pub. BVC
  • Atlas (Filmgroup, 1961)
  • Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman (American International, 1958)
  • The Bashful Bikini (1964)
  • The Bashful Elephant (Allied Artists, 1962)
  • The Bonnie Parker Story (American International, 1958)
  • The Bounty Hunter (Embassy, 1965)
  • Cannibal Orgy / Spider Baby the Liver Eaters (1965)
  • The Day the World Ended (American International, 1956)
  • Dementia 13 (American International, 1963)
  • The Devils Partner (Filmgroup, 1959)
  • Dial 111 – Juvenile Squad (1959)
  • Diary of a High School Bride (American International, 1959)
  • Dime with a Halo (MGM, 1963) music pub. Miller
  • Dragstrip Girl (American International, 1957)
  • Flesh and the Spur (American International, 1957)
  • Frankensteins Great Aunt Tillie (1984)
  • Getting Straight (Columbia, 1970)
  • Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow (American International, 1959)
  • Girls in Prison (American International, 1956)
  • The Gunslinger (ARC, 1956)
  • The Haunted Palace (American International, 1963)
  • High School Hellcats (American International, 1958)
  • Hot Rod Gangs (American International, 1958)
  • Invasion of the Saucer-Men (American International, 1957)
  • It Conquered the World (American International, 1956)
  • Jet Attack (American International, 1958)
  • Just Between Us (1961)
  • The Last Woman on Earth (Filmgroup, 1960)
  • The Legend of Tom Dooley (Columbia, 1959)
  • Little Joey / Stakeout (1960)
  • The Littlest Hobo (Allied Artists, 1958)
  • A Man called Dagger
  • My Soul Runs Naked Rat Fink/Wild and Willing (Genesis, 1964)
  • Naked Paradise / Thunder Over Hawaii (American International, 1957)
  • Not of This Earth (Allied Artist, 1957)
  • Of love and desire (20th Century-Fox, 1963) music pub. Feist
  • The Oklahoma Woman (American International, 1956)
  • Paratroop Command (American International, 1959)
  • The Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956)
  • The Premature Burial (American International, 1962)
  • The Prisoners (1973)
  • Psych-Out (American International, 1966)
  • The Rain People (Warner Bros., 1969)
  • Raymie (Allied Artists, 1960)
  • Reform School Girl (American International, 1957)
  • Requiem For a Gunfighter (Embassy, 1965)
  • Runaway Daughters (American International, 1957)
  • The She Creature (American International, 1956)
  • She Gods of Shark Reef (American International, 1957)
  • Sorority Girl (American International, 1957)
  • Stalemate (1981)
  • Suicide Battalion (American International, 1958)
  • Tank Commandos (American International, 1959)
  • The Terror (American International, 1963)
  • Too Soon to Love (Universal, 1960)
  • The Undead (American International, 1957)
  • The Underwater City (Columbia, 1962)
  • The Violent Evil (1959)
  • War Hero War Is Hell (Allied Artists, 1963)
  • The Young and the Brave (MGM, 1963)


  • Zonite 60 (commercial)

Theater compositions

  • And so to bed [incidental music]
  • Blue-eyed Voyager: a musical
  • Bridge Party: one act opera
  • Manhattan Minuet [dance]
  • Ray Bolger Show opening

Other compositions

  • Adon Olom [voice]
  • Bitter Herb [piano]
  • Credo [choral]
  • Corrigendum for Oboe, French Horn and Piano
  • Elegy for Piano
  • Israeli Festival [flute and piano]
  • It was a Lordings Daughter Song: for soprano
  • Las Vegas [orch]
  • Live with me and Be my love [soprano, bass, and piano]
  • Ma-To-Vu Hebrew Piece [choral]
  • Many Springs to Come [voice and piano]
  • Notes for electric guitar and strings
  • On the 25th Day: A Chanukah Cantata
  • Passion 1, for saxophone Quartet
  • Quartet for Oboe, Bassoon, Flute and French Horn
  • Reborn [soprano and piano]
  • Simple Variations [oboe, French horn]
  • Small and Simple Variations [orch]
  • Small Variations [piano]
  • Solo Trumpet Sonata
  • Sonata for Oboe and Piano
  • Three Songs for Soprano
  • Tiny Suite for four trumpets
  • Try [voice, guitar, piano, drums, bass, organ, percussion]
  • Two Classical Songs
  • Young Girl in Manhattan [concert band]