John Williams - Early Life and Family

Early Life and Family

John Williams was born on February 8, 1932 on Long Island, New York, the son of Esther (née Towner) and Johnny Williams. His father was a jazz percussionist who played with the Raymond Scott Quintet.

In 1948, the Williams family moved to Los Angeles where John attended North Hollywood High School graduating in 1950. He later attended the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and studied privately with the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. In 1952, Williams was drafted into the U.S. Air Force, where he conducted and arranged music for the Air Force Band as part of his assignments.

After his Air Force service ended in 1955, Williams moved to New York City and entered the Juilliard School, where he studied piano with Rosina Lhévinne. During this time, Williams worked as a jazz pianist in New York's many clubs and eventually studios, most notably for composer Henry Mancini. His fellow session musicians included Rolly Bundock on bass, Jack Sperling on drums, and Bob Bain on guitar—the same lineup featured on the Mr. Lucky television series. Williams was known as "Little Johnny Love" Williams during the early 1960s, and he served as music arranger and bandleader for a series of popular music albums with the singer Frankie Laine.

Williams was married to actress Barbara Ruick from 1956 until her death on March 3, 1974. Williams and Ruick had three children: Jennifer (born 1956), Mark (born 1958), and Joseph (born 1960). Williams' younger son (Joseph) is one of the various lead singers in the band Toto. Williams' grandson is Vinyl Williams. John Williams married his second wife, Samantha Winslow, on July 21, 1980.

John Williams is an honorary member of Kappa Kappa Psi, the national fraternity for college band members.

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