Fielding also wrote extensively for radio, including programs hosted by Hoagy Carmichael, Kate Smith, and The Andrews Sisters, and was eventually named musical director of The Jack Paar Show. By 1952 Fielding helmed his own jazz orchestra, which was the house band on Groucho Marx's popular television game show You Bet Your Life, but as a self-confessed "loudmouthed crusader" who received death threats for hiring African-American musicians, it was inevitable that he would run afoul of Sen. Joseph McCarthy's anti-Communist witch hunts. Called to testify in front of the House Un-American Activities Committee, Fielding took the Fifth Amendment, and his Hollywood career crumbled.
Fielding sought refuge in Las Vegas, where he served as musical director for acts including Abbott & Costello and Debbie Reynolds. He also signed a record contract with Decca, cutting a series of jazz-inspired discs including Sweet with a Beat, Swingin' in Hi-Fi, and Fielding's Formula. The emergence of stereo technology galvanized Fielding's efforts, and later LPs including Magnificence in Brass and Near East Brass remain favorites of exotica collectors. With McCarthy's reign of terror finally at an end, Fielding returned to Hollywood in 1962, and at the recommendation of blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo he was hired to write his first feature score for Otto Preminger's political thriller Advise and Consent.
A score rich in atmosphere and melancholy — two emerging signatures of Fielding's work — it was followed by a series of lighthearted television efforts including themes for the series Hogan's Heroes and Run Buddy Run. In 1966, he teamed with two-fisted filmmaker Sam Peckinpah for the telefilm Noon Wine, inaugurating an often contentious creative partnership that won Fielding Academy Award nominations for 1969's The Wild Bunch and 1971's Straw Dogs. Fielding also scored several films for Clint Eastwood, earning a third Oscar nomination for his work on 1976's The Outlaw Josey Wales. While in Canada scoring the feature Below the Belt, Fielding suffered a fatal heart attack on February 17, 1980.
He was just 57 years old. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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