Edens, Roger (1905–1970)

By: Amanda Oren

Type: Biography

Published: January 1, 1995

Roger Edens, musician, composer, and producer, was born on November 9, 1905, in Hillsboro, Texas. He began his career in the early 1930s as a piano accompanist for ballroom dancers. He played piano in the orchestra pit for the musical Girl Crazy from 1930 to 1931. Afterward, he worked with Ethel Merman as accompanist and musical arranger. He also wrote songs for Judy Garland that she performed at the Palace Theater and in concert.

Edens joined the staff at Metro Goldwyn Meyer as a musical supervisor and composer in 1935 and eventually became an associate producer, working closely with MGM songwriter and producer Arthur Freed. Edens worked as a musical advisor, arranger, and producer on many noted films, including Born to Dance (1936), The Wizard of Oz (1939), Strike Up the Band (1940), Babes on Broadway (1941), Ziegfeld Follies (1944), and Meet Me in St. Louis (1944). He received the Academy Award for best scoring of a musical picture for Easter Parade (1948), On the Town (1949), and Annie Get Your Gun (1950). Some films he worked on as associate producer include Show Boat (1951), An American in Paris (1951), Funny Face (1957), The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964), and Hello, Dolly (1969). Edens helped produce many of the extravagant show numbers that have come to be associated with the great Hollywood musical. He died of cancer on July 13, 1970, in Hollywood, California, and was buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.

Roger D. Kinkle, The Complete Encyclopedia of Popular Music and Jazz: 1900–1950 (4 vols., New Rochelle, New York: Arlington House, 1974). The International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers.


  • Music
  • Stage and Film

Time Periods:

  • World War II

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Amanda Oren, “Edens, Roger,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 04, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/edens-roger.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: