1924 - 2009
"Before I could read I could identify which record was which music from the color of the labels and all that."
- Angela Morley
Angela Morley’s first memories were of sitting on the floor surrounded by the records she was playing on an enormous wind-up gramophone. During World War II, the 15 year old saxophone player, who was assigned male at birth, was in demand. She had an ability to sight read music and by age 20 she was performing with Geraldo’s Band, a top U.K. group. Self-taught until then, Morley began to study composition and conducting. At 29, she became music director of Philips Records (U.K.) – arranging for artists like Mel Torme and Rosemary Clooney. She conducted the dance orchestra while working as a music arranger for the BBC. During the 1950s she began scoring films. Following the death of her first wife, Morley remarried in 1970. It was in that relationship that she found the courage to confront her unspoken identity crisis. “It was only because of her love and support that I then was able to deal with the trauma, and begin to think about crossing over that terrifying gender border.” Following gender confirmation surgery in 1972, Angela Morley was officially born. In 1974, she received an Oscar nomination for best adapted score for ‘The Little Prince,’ and another in 1975 for ‘The Slipper and the Rose.’ She is best known for scoring the film ‘Watership Down’ (1977). She assisted John Williams with the orchestration of the scores to ‘Star Wars,’ ‘Superman,’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ From 1979-1990 Morley worked scoring for the Warner Brothers TV shows ‘Dallas,’ ‘Dynasty,’ ‘Falcon Crest,’ and ‘Hotel.’ During this period she received six Emmy Award nominations, winning three for musical direction of Julie Andrews’ TV Specials in 1988 and 1990. Angela Morley died at age 85 in 2009 from a fall and subsequent heart attack.
Sexual Orientation Lesbian
Gender Identity Transgender
Nations Affiliated United Kingdom United States
Era/Epoch Information Age (1970-present) Post-Stonewall Era (1974-1980)
Field(s) of Contribution
Commemorations & Honors
First Out Transgender Person Academy Award Nominee for The Little Prince (1975)
Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction Christmas in Washington (1985)
Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas (1988)
Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction Great Performances: Julie Andrews in Concert (1990)
Posthumous Leeds Pride Rainbow Plaque Unveiled at BBC Leeds Entrance (2018)