George Duning

George Duning

George Duning


Hollywood's Least Known But Most Respected Film Music Composer

George would have been 110 this year!**

updated 9/1/19

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George Duning

George William Duning, (2/25/1908—2/27/2000); Aged 92; Today would have been 110

George William Duning

Born in Wayne County, Richmond, Indiana, USA;

Marriage #1:
George (28) to Dorothy E Hutchings (23) married in Jackson County, Missouri on 12/23/1936; Application No. A65440; George's address was 6020 Drexel, Chicago, IL, Cook County and Dorothy was from Kansas City; Jackson County;

Marriage #2:
George (70) to Lois Thompson (57) in Los Angeles Count, California on 3/25/1978; State File#18283; Registrar #7588;

Died in San Diego County, San Diego, CA, USA; (two days after his 92nd birthday) at the Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, California; from cardiovascular disease; SS 340-09-7971

Burial: Cremated, Ashes were held by his wife Lois, until her death. Now they are buried at Lake Forest Cemetery, Lake Forest, Lake County, Illinois; Plot the Thompson mausoleum

Find A Grave Memorial# 124622603;


William Henry Duning, Jr., (1881-1956), Age at death: 75;

Born in Wayne County, Richmond, Indiana, USA;

Henrietta Albrecht married Jan. 9, 1907, in Butler County, Ohio.

William was an Oratorio Singer, Conductor and Lecturer;

Burial: Lutherania Cemetery, Wayne County, Richmond, Indiana, USA;

Find A Grave Memorial# 122887451;


Henrietta Albrecht Duning, (1883-1952), Age at death: 69;

Born in Butler County, Hamilton, Ohio, USA;

Died in 1952;

Henrietta was a teacher of organ and piano and a singer; Albrecht was her maiden name. She was daughter of John and Mary Bisdorf Albrecht.

Burial: Lutherania Cemetery, Wayne County, Richmond, Indiana, USA;

Find A Grave Memorial# 122887622;


Note: The Duning brothers, natives of Richmond, Indiana, they were both deaf and became architects. Both were also active in leadership roles in the National Association of the Deaf (NAD).
Hilbert is mentioned in "Deaf Heritage" were there is a photo of him at work and three of his buildings, including two at Miami University.

Hilbert Carl Duning, (8/16/1909—8/4/1969); Age at death: 59;

Born in Wayne County; Richmond, Indiana, USA;

Died in Hamilton County; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; He was an architect; SS 289-01-2313;

Harriet Wilson Duning (1912-1991); Wife; Age at death: 79; Was married to Harriet of Delaware, Ohio, on February 20, 1937.

He was an architect; Designed Upham Hall, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; Women's Dormitory, Oxford, Ohio; Indian Hill Church, Cincinnati, Ohio;

Burial in Spring Grove Cemetery, Hamilton County, Ohio, USA; Plot: Garden LN, Section 134, Lot 236,Space 6;

Find A Grave Memorial# 78921395;

LeRoy Louis Duning, (3/11/1911—9/15/2003); Age at death: 92;

Born in Wayne County; Richmond, Indiana, USA;

Died in Warren County; Ohio, USA;

Dorothy Farson Duning; Wife

He was an architect; worked in Ohio, and was married to Dorothy Farson (for over 50 years). Participated on the Babbidge Committee and taught architectural drafting at NTID during his early days. Was a table tennis coach in the WGD in the late 1960s; SS 269-09-4109

Burial: Cremated, Location of ashes is unknown.

Find A Grave Memorial# 126292099;

From Deborah Duning: http://genforum.genealogy.com/cgi-bin/print.cgi?deafculture::291.html (Post Date: November 17, 2010):

"I can tell you that LeRoy was happily married for over 50 years to Dorothy Farson (also deaf), as they were my paternal grandparents. They spent most of their married lives in Southern Ohio in and around Cincinnati, but lived for several years in Tucson, AZ where LeRoy worked at a deaf and blind school teaching drafting. LeRoy and Dorothy had two hearing sons, J. William Duning of Lebanon, OH and my dad, John L. Duning of San Diego, CA. Dorothy passed away suddenly in July, 1996, and LeRoy passed in September of 2003. I have a few pictures of them - not at work, but at being my grandparents."

Wife (1st):


Dorothy (Dottie) E. Hutchings, (8/14/1913—5/3/80); Age at death: 67;

Missing Photo

Born in other country;

Father's Surname: Hutchings;
Mother's Maiden Name: Lawrence;

George Duning for 40+ years, from 12/23/36—8/1977; Married in County of Jackson, Missouri, USA; License to Marry Application No. A65440; George was 28 and Dorothy was 23;

Divorced on Aug 1977, when George was 69 and Dorothy was 64; Los Angeles County; Case Number: 935206; State File # 104493

Kathleen Duning, Daughter, born 7/1/40
Lorna Duning, Daughter, born 5/15/42
Patricia A Duning, Daughter, born 4/21/46

Death place: Los Angeles; SS 554-76-3036;





Kathleen D. Frankeberger; (7/1/40-4/14/17); Aged 76;

Kathleen Duning Frankeberger

Dennis Lee Frankeberger; Husband

Melissa Coury, Daughter

Lived in Port Townsend, Washington;

Lorna Duning McComsey; (5/15/42-7/20/97); Aged 55; from breast cancer

Lorna Duning McComsey Photo

James T. McComsey; for 33 years, from 7/1964 until her death on 7/20/97;

Mark McComsey, Son, born 1965;
Maureen Lynne McComsey, Daughter, born 1967;

Lived in La Canada and in La Jolla

Patricia A. Duning Brayton (73); (4/21/46- );

Missing Photo

William T. Brayton; Husband

Amy Holloway: Daughter

Port Townsend, Washington;

Wife (2nd):


Lois Thompson Duning; (3/31/20-12/4/16); Aged 96;

Lois Duning

Born:Chicago, Cook County, Illinois

John R. Thompson 1894–1980
Lois Bell Thompson 1885–1988

Marriage #1:
John R. Blair: Until his death

Marriage #2:
George W. Duning for about 22 years, from 3/25/78 until his death on 2/27/2000; Married To George Duning in State of California; State File #18283; George was 70 and Lois was 65;

Lois had been a widow, with two children from her previous marriage; a daughter (Christine A. Blair) and a son (John R. Blair);

Christine A. Blair; Daughter with John Blair
John R. Blair; Son with John Blair

Burial: Lake Forest Cemetery, Lake Forest, Lake County, Illinois; Plot the Thompson mausoleum

Find A Grave Memorial# 192928066;

Christine A. Blair (68);
John R. Blair (71);
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio; Majored in music theory at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music - (now called the College-Conservatory of Music);
Private music composition lessons from Mario Castleinouvo-Tedesco in Hollywood;
Was an active citizen of the music industry, serving on the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers-Writer's (ASCAP) Board of Directors for 14 years (from 1972 to 1985), and as ASCAP Vice President - '77, '78, '79;
American Federation of Musicians, Locals 47 and 1;
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences;
Screen Composer's Association;
Composers and Lyricists Guild of America;
National Academy of Record Arts and Sciences;
American Society of Music Arrangers;
Songwriters Guild -- AGAC;
National Association for American Composers and Conductors;

Overview ofGeorge's

Played Trumpet Professionally: Jazz, symphonic music, theatre orchestras, burlesque, stage show, and military bands; played organ at various religious services;
Music Director and Supervisor for NBC's Lucky Strike Radio Show: "Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge" show for 11 years;
Contract Composer, Conductor and Arranger at Columbia Pictures for 16 years;
Conducted the Fourth Hollywood Bond Cavalcade: Including such stars as Judy Garland, Jose Iturbi, Kathryn Grayson, Mickey Rooney, Betty Hutton and Dick Powell;
Served in the naval unit of the Armed Forces Radio Service: Scoring, conducting and arranging "Command Performance" for Meredith Willson;
Scored, arranged conducted for all types of picture, stage presentations, musicals, ballet and dance, vocal and instrumentals; 40 years in film scoring;

George Duning

0 Born on Feb. 25, 1908, in Richmond, Indiana;
? The Duning family moved to Ohio;
15 In Cincinnati, Duning played the trumpet as a teenager and began writing and conducting; Started his own band at age 15;
18 University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, band leader Kay Kyser graduated and he took his band on the road; Duning, then 18, joined Kay's orchestra as a trumpet player and arranger; the band toured through the South and the Midwest; Although not always tremendously successful, the band persevered through the lean times. Duning studied at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music during the summer months while touring; (Excerpts from: http://www.kaykyser.net/kay.html);
18 Duning studied at University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, Majored in theory at Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, his first formal training;
24 In 1932, during the midst of the Great Depression, the band, like many other individuals, journeyed west in search of greener pastures.  The group latched on to a lengthy gig at the Bal Tabarin club in San Francisco, then moved on to the Miramar Hotel in Santa Monica; (The Bal Tabarin in San Francisco (1931–1951) was located at 1025 Columbus Avenue; the building changed ownership to become Bimbo's 365 Club); see Bimbo's website at http://www.bimbos365club.com/
25 Duning become a full-time arranger for the band, from 1933 to 1944; (in 1944 he joined the Navy);
26 After a return engagement at the Bal Tabarin in the fall of 1934, the Kay Kyser Orchestra got a huge break for steady work work at "The Blackhawk" club in Chicago, IL; The band was a huge hit and scored a contract with Brunswick in the spring of ‘35 for several recordings;
27 In the summer of 1935, the Kay Kyser Band hit the charts for the first time with a song entitled “Thinking of You;” In the next two and one-half years, eleven more Kyser hits latched onto the Billboard top 40;
27 The “Kollege” concept is born to liven up slow Monday nights at "The Blackhawk." Originally called "Kay’s Klass," it was an amateur night interspersed with questions from Kay to the contestants to relax them. The band experimented with a mini-quiz show, where audience members would be asked musical questions.  Noting accurately that Kyser, a lean man with glasses, could easily be mistaken for a teacher, band members suggested that a fake classroom be used as the backdrop for the show.  Kay himself would don professorial garb, including the obligatory mitre.  Thus, the “Kollege of Musical Knowledge” concept was born. "Mutual Broadcasting System" aired Kay's show regionally; After four years of solid regional success, the show went national in 1938 on the NBC network.  During its 11 year run, the show never finished out of the top ten; (Excerpts from: http://kaykysercsassoc.org/);
28 12/23/36: Marriage to Dorothy E. Hutchings; George was 28 and Dorothy was 23; County of Jackson, Missouri, USA; License to Marry Application No. A65440;
30 The "Kollege" show gained the national spotlight and "Lucky Strike" bought the show and moved it to New York City; the first New York show, called "Kay Kyser's Kollege of Musical Knowledge," aired March 30th, 1938 on NBC Radio; Duning worked as a staff arranger-conductor and supervisor for the show;
30 In December 1938, the band’s first number one hit “The Umbrella Man” on the Billboard top 40;
31 Kyser's orchestra opens at Catalina Island casino; Kyser signed with RKO to do a series of films in Hollywood, the first called "That’s Right-You’re Wrong" co-starring Lucille Ball and Adolphe Menjou; Kyser recorded another 13 top 40 hits, led by the group’s second number one song, a novelty number “Three Little Fishies,” which rode atop the charts for two weeks in May.  The same year, the orchestra was asked to go to Atlanta to play at the premiere of the year’s most touted film – "Gone With the Wind."
31 Duning began his film career by doing production arrangements for Columbia Pictures, and got acquainted with Columbia music director Morris Stoloff; First film as a music arranger for the Rita Hayworth musical "Down to Earth;"
? Duning took private music lessons from Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco in Hollywood;
32 Ten of the Kay Kyser band recordings enjoyed placement in the top 40, although none reached the coveted number one spot. The band was at the top of the charts continually during the 1940s;
32 Moved to Glendale, California, where the Duning family resided until 1951.
32 7/1/40: George Duning's first daughter, Kathleen, was born; Birth County: Los Angeles
34 5/15/42: George Duning's second daughter, Lorna, was born; Birth County: Los Angeles
34 In sheer popularity, the group was at its peak in 1942, scoring five number one hits during the year;
34 The recording industry was at a standstill because of a Musician's Union strike; (Aug. 1st);
36 After a long 27 months, the musicians strike ended in November of 1944.  During the work stoppage, the only recordings being made were done for the war-effort;
36 First film as orchestrator;
36 Work was interrupted by World War II, when he joined the Navy for two years; he arranged and conducted band leader Meredith Willson's Armed Forces Radio show Command Performance near the end of the war.
38 Out of the service, he was signed with Columbia Pictures by Morris Stoloff as an orchestrator and arranger; His time with Columbia lasted for the next 16 years, (1945-1962);
38 4/21/46: George Duning's third daughter, Patricia, was born (now 73); Birth County: Los Angeles
39 Composed his first film score: "Johnny O'clock;"
45 Built a home at 2119 Lyans Drive, La Canada Flintridge, California 91011, which became the family home for 25 years, (1953-1978).
54 Left Columbia to freelance; Focused primarily on television from the 1960s onward;
69 Aug/1977: Divorced from his wife Dorothy, when George was 69; Los Angeles County; Case Number: 935206; State File # 104493
70 3/25/78: Marriage to Lois Thompson; Los Angeles County; George was 70, and Lois was 57;
72 5/3/80: George's first wife, Dorothy, died. Aged 67
78 Retired to Borrego Springs, California for the winter months and a condominium in La Jolla, CA, for the summer months, (7811 Eads Ave.; Unit 305, La Jolla, California 92037),
1987 79 12/16/87: Received the career achievement award of the Society for the Preservation of Film Music at a ceremony at the Pavilion restaurant of the Music Center.
1993 85 George visited Indianapolis Nov. 5-7, 1993 for the Second Annual Festival of Indiana Music held in the Indiana War Memorial auditorium.
1997 90 7/20/97: George's daughter, Lorna, Died. Aged 55

Died on Feb. 27, 2000, (he was incapacitated by a stroke and passed away from cardiovascular disease two days after his 92nd birthday) at the Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, California;

George was cremated and his wife Lois maintained his ashes until her death. Most of his ashes were buried with her, and some may have been passed down to other family members.


12/4/16: George's 2nd wife, Lois, died. Aged 96

2017   4/14/17: George's daughter, Kathy, died. Aged 76
George Duning
In His Own Words
George Duning: “I started out originally as a trumpet player, playing both jazz and symphonic music, then I would go back to the Cincinnati Conservatory and take crash courses during the summer. I’d quit the band or wherever I was working and go back and take some theory, counterpoint, harmony, and all that sort of stuff. When I got to the point where I started making arrangements for dance bands, I decided I’d had it as far as a trumpet career goes, so I gave it up. My teacher at that time, Herman Ogilvie of the Cincinnati Symphony, was training me for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, but in the meantime I’d start playing nightclub dates. In those days, you could take all the pay home, and I wound up finally on the road with dance bands. Eventually I reached a point where I became interested in writing arrangements. I was the musical director, from 1933 to 1944, with the Kay Kyser Band, the old Kollege of Musical Knowledge. In 1944 I went into the Naval Unit of the Armed Forces Radio Service, under Meredith Wilson, and I conducted command performances. I also made I don’t know how many arrangements for personal albums. I wrote original music for propaganda purposes that was used overseas, beamed to Japan.”

“When I got out of the Service in 1946, I decided to take my chances in Hollywood instead of going back to the bands. I went to work at Columbia Pictures first as an orchestrator, and after about eight or ten months, the head of the music department was interested in what I wanted to do, and I told him I wanted to write music for pictures. Finally one day he called me down to the office and asked me how I’d like to do a whole score? In the meantime I had been writing incidental cues for other composers, who were not making their deadlines. The first picture I did was JOHNNY O’CLOCK (1947), with Dick Powell, Evelyn Keyes, Lee J. Cobb. The score was very successful, it was exactly what the producer and the director wanted, and that was the beginning of my picture scoring career.”
(Excerpt from "George Duning Remembered" by Randall D. Larson).

(Research Still In Progress!)