Maximilian Raoul Steiner (May 10, 1888 – December 28, 1971) was an Austrian-born American music composer for theatre and films, as well as a conductor. He was a child prodigy who conducted his first operetta when he was twelve and became a full-time professional, either composing, arranging, or conducting, when he was fifteen.
Steiner worked in England, then Broadway, and in 1929 he moved to Hollywood, where he became one of the first composers to write music scores for films. He is referred to as "the father of film music", as Steiner played a major part in creating the tradition of writing music for films, along with composers Dimitri Tiomkin, Franz Waxman, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Alfred Newman, Bernard Herrmann, and Miklós Rózsa.
Steiner composed over 300 film scores with RKO Pictures and Warner Bros., and was nominated for 24 Academy Awards, winning three: The Informer (1935); Now, Voyager (1942); and Since You Went Away (1944). Besides his Oscar-winning scores, some of Steiner's popular works include King Kong (1933), Little Women (1933), Jezebel (1938), and Casablanca (1942), though he did not compose its love theme, As Time Goes By. In addition, Steiner scored The Searchers (1956), A Summer Place (1959), and Gone with the Wind (1939), which ranked second on the AFI's list of best American film scores, and is the film score for which he is best known.
He was also the first recipient of the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, which he won for his score for Life with Father. Steiner was a frequent collaborator with some of the best known film directors in history, including Michael Curtiz, John Ford, and William Wyler, and scored many of the films with Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, and Fred Astaire. Many of his film scores are available as separate soundtrack recordings.