Hollywood Harpist Ann Mason Stockton

Ann Mason Stockton, a harp player who spent seven decades creating background music for some of Hollywood's biggest productions, died recently of heart failure in her Los Angeles-area home. The musician played on soundtracks for more than 800 films.

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MADELEINE BRAND, host:

This is DAY TO DAY from NPR News. I'm Madeleine Brand. You may not recognize the name, but you've certainly heard her music. Ann Mason Stockton played the harp on more than 800 Hollywood movie scores. She died earlier this month at her home in Los Angeles.

(Soundbite of harp music)

BRAND: When she was four years old, Ann Stockton began showing up at her neighbor's house to hear her practice the harp. By the time she was eight, Stockton herself was giving performances. She eventually made her way to the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Leonard Slatkin is the director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington.

Mr. LEONARD SLATKIN (Director, National Symphony Orchestra Washington): Ann was the person you went to when you needed a harpist. There was nobody better on the West Coast. Ann was a perfectionist, but she was also a tremendous human being. So she could inject into those perfectionist rehearsals a great sense of humor, warmth, and dignity. She was just an amazing woman.

BRAND: Ann Stockton's first motion picture was Gone with the Wind. Over seven decades she plucked and strummed with everyone from Frank Sinatra to composer John Williams. This is Stockton playing harp on the score for Schindler's List, complementing Itzhak Perlman's haunting violin strings.

(Soundbite of harp and violin music)

BRAND: Ann Mason Stockton, Hollywood harpist, died earlier this month. She was eighty-nine years old.

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