b. 15 June 1910, Gotebo, Oklahoma, USA, d. 17 December 1975, Palm Springs, California, USA. From the late 20s and into the 30s, Wrightsman played piano in several territory bands in the south and south-west and also in New Orleans. After a spell in California, in the mid-30s he joined Ben Pollack’s popular band in Chicago. Soon, however, he returned to the west coast and settled there, working as a freelance in the film studios. During the 40s and 50s he continued to play jazz under several leaders including Artie Shaw but mainly those with bands following a traditional bent, notably Wingy Manone, Bob Crosby, Matty Matlock, Pete Fountain, Ray Bauduc and Wild Bill Davison. Mostly, however, he continued with his film work, occasionally appearing on-screen, as in The Man I Love (1946), but usually only on soundtracks, including Young Man With A Horn (1950) and Picnic (1955).
Sometimes, Wrightsman dubbed soundtracks for on-screen actors, in this way providing the piano playing for Richard Whorf in Blues In The Night (1941), for Bonita Granville in Syncopation (1942) and, with only-in-Hollywood craziness, for jazz pianist Sir Charles Thompson in The Crimson Canary (1945). In the late 50s and early 60s he continued in similar vein, playing on the soundtrack of television’s M Squad and making jazz records with Muggsy Spanier and again with Fountain. An accomplished pianist, Wrightsman had a good if not especially distinctive jazz touch but wisely, perhaps, chose to make his talent available to the highly lucrative demands of the film industry.