Victor Young (Victor Young)

Victor Young

Victor Young was born in Chicago on August 8, 1900, into a very musical Jewish family, his father being a member of one Joseph Sheehan’s touring Opera company. The young Victor began playing violin at the age of six, and was sent to Poland when he was ten to stay with his grandfather and study at Warsaw Imperial Conservatory (his teacher was Polish composer Roman Statkowski), achieving the Diploma of Merit. He studied the piano with Isidor Philipp of the Paris Conservatory. While still a teenager he embarked on a career as a concert violinist with the Warsaw Philharmonic under Juliusz Wertheim, assistant conductor in 1915–16. When he graduated from the Warsaw Conservatory, the war prevented him from returning the US; so he remained in Poland, which was occupied by the Germans, earning his keep by playing with the Philharmonic, in a quartet and a quintet, and in between he gave lessons. His future wife, Rita Kinel, who met him in late 1918, used to smuggle food to him, for he had neither enough money to buy it or time to eat it. He returned to Chicago in 1920 to join the orchestra at Central Park Casino. He then went to Los Angeles to join his Polish fiancée, finding employment first as a fiddler in impresario Sid Grauman’s Million Dollar Theatre Orchestra then going on to be appointed concert-master for Paramount-Publix Theatres. After turning to popular music, he worked for a while as violinist-arranger for Ted Fio Rito.

In 1930 Chicago bandleader and radio-star Isham Jones commissioned Young to write a ballad instrumental of Hoagy Carmichael’s “Stardust”, which had been played, up until then, as an up-tempo number. Victor Young slowed it down and played the melody as a gorgeous romantic violin solo which inspired Mitchell Parish to write lyrics for what then became a much performed love song. In the mid-1930s he moved to Hollywood where he concentrated on films, recordings of light music and providing backing for popular singers, including Bing Crosby. His composer credits include “When I Fall in Love,” “Blue Star (The ‘Medic’ Theme),” “Moonlight Serenade (Summer Love)” from the motion picture The Star (1952), “Sweet Sue, Just You,” “Can’t We Talk It Over,” “Street of Dreams,” “Love Letters,” “Around the World,” “My Foolish Heart,” “Golden Earrings,” “Stella by Starlight”, “Delilah”, “Johnny Guitar” and “I Don’t Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You.” Victor Young died in Palm Springs, California after a cerebral haemorrhage at age 56. He is interred in the Beth Olam Mausoleum in Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California. Dr. Max Nussbaum, rabbi of Temple Israel, Hollywood, officiated. His family donated his artifacts and memorabilia (including his Oscar) to Brandeis University, where they are housed today.


  • August, 08, 1900
  • USA
  • Chicago, Illinois


  • November, 10, 1956
  • USA
  • Palm Springs, California

Cause of Death

  • cerebral hemorrhage


  • Hollywood Forever Cemetery
  • Hollywood, California
  • USA

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